The field of mineral physics will benefit from an era of big physics machines that will produce intense beams of X rays, neutrons, and high-energy particles. The new super accelerators are being built as tools for high-energy physics experiments and for materials science research.
Mineral physics studies are among the most sophisticated to be conducted. High-intensity X rays will be used to solve complex crystal structures, to detail the steps of fast mineral phase changes, and to penetrate to the sample chambers of high-pressure cells. Neutron beams powerful enough to penetrate surface layers of the earth's crust will be used to probe for mineral deposits.