Innovative technologies emerge from the basic research conducted at Fermilab. Eventually, through technology transfer from laboratory to industry, these breakthroughs provide economic development and contribute to benefits for our society and culture. The knowledge gained through such promising intellectual pursuits as superconductivity, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, and international communications for collaborations of physicists has enriched our citizens with such products as transistors, medical diagnostic tools, and the world wide web.

This page contains curated collections of articles, primarily taken from Fermilab employee newsletters. Remember that these articles are reproduced directly from the original lab publications and reflect the state of the lab and scientific knowledge at the times they were written. Check the dates on the articles to place them in their proper context.

Records on the technology developments of Fermilab are available in the Archives. Please contact the archivist for assistance.

For a history of the Fermilab Energy Doubler see Lillian Hoddeson, "The First Large-Scale Application of Superconductivity: The Fermilab Energy Doubler, 1972-1983," Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 18:1 (1987), 25-54. Edited by Robert W. Seidel.

For information on the World Wide Web, see the August 16, 1996 issue of FermiNews, available online and the November 1998 issue of Physics Today for Bebo White's article "The World Wide Web and High-Energy Physics" on pages 30-36.

Neutron and Proton Therapy

Fermilab’s first director, Robert R. Wilson, is sometimes known as “the father of proton therapy” for his article “Radiological Use of Fast Protons,” published in Radiology in 1946. That paper formed the basis of the techniques that would later be used in proton therapy cancer treatments. In 1971, a group of sixteen lab and Chicago-area scientists and physicians submitted a proposal to the National Cancer Institute suggesting a study of the use of the lab Linac and Booster for cancer therapy. Wilson helped organize the Cancer Therapy Facility, which treated its first patient on September 7, 1976. It later became known as the Neutron Therapy Facility. In 1989, Fermilab designed and built a proton accelerator for Loma Linda University Medical Center in California, the first hospital-based proton treatment center. Fermilab's Neutron Therapy Facility shut down in April 2013, after treating more than 3,000 patients.

Technology Transfer and Patents

By pursuing its mission to advance understanding of particle physics and accelerator science, Fermilab also helps drive the development of new technologies that are useful to industry. Universities Research Association created the Fermilab Industrial Affiliates in 1980 to enhance the transfer to industry of technology developed by Fermilab in the course of its research program. The lab created the Office of Research and Technology Applications by the mid-1980s and the Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer (OPTT) in 2013. Some lab scientists and engineers have also produced patentable inventions.