VELA - Versatile Electron Linear Accelerator
08 Mar 2017



VELA is a high performance, modular linear accelerator capable of delivering a high quality electron beam to a series of test enclosures.


​​​VELA​, STFC Daresbury​


​This test facility delivers a capability for the cutting edge development and qualification of advanced accelerator systems, enabling industry to expedite their technology development from prototypes to market ready products and has the potential to help revolutionise the use of accelerators in priority areas such as healthcare, security, energy, industrial processing and the environment.​​

What can VELA provide? 

  • Ultra short electron pulses wdths down to less than 100 femtoseconds
  • Ultra high beam position and timing stability
  • Unique ability to precisely tailor the electron beam, experimental configuration and shielding to match your requirements
  • Cutting edge beam diagnostics


  • Beam tuning and flexibility not available anywhere else
  • Unique opportunity to accurately probe samples, processes or technology in dynamic new regimes
  • Excellent stability, maximising data accuracy, resolution and reproducibility
  • No local shielding required
  • Highly flexible working models, including:
    • 'Pay as you go' beamtime-only
    • STFC staff-assisted beamtime, data collection and analysis
    • Collaborative working with academic and industrial partners
    • Rental of radiation enclosures.
  • Access to infrastructure and expertise of the National Laboratories.

Usage modes and application areas

  • Direct usage of the electron beam for sterilisation, modification of polymer rheology etc.
  • Conversion to photons via targets for medical applications and security imaging
  • Development of accelerator components such as RF structures and magnet design
  • Technology development of related subsystems e.g. electron and photon beam diagnostics/optics, femtosecond synchronisation
  • Usae of radiation shielded area with no beam for example source and shielding verification

Potential application areas include:


  • Single and multiple-use equipment sterilisation
  • Radio- and hadron-therapy technology development
  • Radioactive isotope production


  • Purification of flue gases and combustion products
  • Waste water treatment
  • Groundwater purification


  • Large-volume cargo scanning
  • Personnel scanning
  • Biochemical and radioactive threat detection

Industrial Processing

  • Food sterilisation
  • Polymer cross-linking
  • Rheological modification

Technology Development​

  • Linear accelerators
  • RF sources
  • Electron beam diagnostics
  • Femtosecond laser timing and synchronisation
  • Magnet systems
  • X-ray detectors
  • Laser drive systems


  • Beam energy: ​4.0 – 5.5 MeV
  • Bunch charge: 10 – 250 pC
  • Bunch length (s t,rms): 80 – 3 ps
  • Normalised emittance: 0.1 – 2.0 mm
  • Beam size (s x,y,rms): 0.1 – 3.5 mm
  • Energy spread (s e,rms): 0.1 – 5 %
  • Bunch repetition rate: 1 – 10 Hz

​NOTE: Not all of the above beam parameters can be achieved simultaneously.​​​


F​or further information please email

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