The Versatile Electron Linear Accelerator (VELA)
04 Oct 2012







VELA is a world leading, ultra-high performance electron beam injector system conceived to bridge the 'innovation gap' between theoretical demonstration and marketable product.

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
  • Usag​e 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.​

​​Contact Us

Please feel free to contact the ASTeC Business Development Team to discuss how we can assist you in reaching your research and technology development ambitions. 

Telephone: 01925 603350 or 01925 603911

Email: Business Support