The first betatron accelerating electrons through magnetic induction was built by Donald Kerst at the University of Illinois in 1940. Czechoslovakia, as one of a few (about six) countries of the world, managed production of betatron, as early as the 1950s. The research and development activities started in the Accelerator Department of the Research Institute for Vacuum Electrotechnique, which was transformed into the Institute of Vacuum Electronics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in 1959 and renamed to the Institute of Plasma Physics in 1963. The first two experimental betatrons with the energies of 1.8 and 2.5 MeV were built in 1954 and 1955, respectively, and were followed by an industrial (defectoscopic) 15-MeV betatron in 1956. The latter was awarded a gold medal at the World Exhibition EXPO 58 in Brussels. Production of the first series of the betatron started in Laboratotni pristroje nat. corp. (Chotutice) in 1959. In the following years, the electron energy was increased to 17 MeV and later to 22 MeV. Since 1974, the industrial betatrons had been produced in the ZMA Ostrov in two variants: mobile and hanging. They were installed at the Skoda Works (Pilsen) and at other plants, and several instruments were exported. Development of the therapeutic betatron started in cooperation with the Chirana nat. corp. in 1960 and the first instrument was installed in a hospital in 1962. Since 1968, the therapeutic instruments had been produced in ZMA Ostrov. They operated at about 8 hospitals through the country and enabled radiation therapy to be carried out at energies of up to 19 MeV, both with the electron beam and X-rays.
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