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Surfatron is a game that lets you experience the challenges faced by the scientists working on wakefield accelerators.


Surfatron illustrates the same process, by simulating the motion of a ball on an undulating track.. The ball stands for a charge particle – an electron - and the undulating track represents a plasma wave. The goal of the game is to get the ball to gain as much speed as possible in the wave. Your score is the 'Velocity Gain' in centimetres per second.

The player can adjust the initial speed of the ball as well as the amplitude, wavelength, and frequency of the wave, in order to find the optimum conditions, and then launch the ball at the right time to catch the wave at its peak.


Click here to play the game!


To release the ball, press the red button. Press it again when is green to reset.

The graph on the right shows the horizontal speed of the ball, in red, and the vertical speed, in blue. Use the sliders to adjust the amplitude, wavelength, and frequency of the wave, the initial speed of the ball, and the friction of the track.  Try to find the optimum conditions and then press the release button at the right time to catch the wave!

With the top toggle switch, you can select a travelling wave or a standing wave. Flick the bottom toggle switch to see the trajectory of the ball in phase space (x, v  ). You can clear the phase space plot by pressing the ‘Clear’ button.

Watch the demo video below!


New technology, which could revolutionize the field of accelerators, relies on the ability of scientists to inject a beam of particles with a well-defined energy into a suitable plasma wave to gain energy, much in the same way as a surfer catches a wave at sea to be pushed forward.

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