Editorial Feature

What is a Beam Dump?

A beam dump maybe defined as a device used for absorbing the energy from photons or other particles. A beam dump in the context of optics can be described as an optical element that absorbs a beam of light. Selecting a beam dump for the application depends on factors such as power, back-reflection and heat.

For simple low-power applications, beam dumps made of black velvet or flock paper are used, whereas for high power applications gas or water beam dumps are used. Beam dumps are an important part of linear colliders, energy recovery systems. This datasheet will elaborate on the construction, working and applications of beam dumps.

Working Principle

When a high energy beam is intercepted by a beam dump (e.g. water), that is placed in a direction transverse to that of the beam, the energy of the beam is dissipated into the dump. The remaining portion of the beams energy is absorbed by solid placed further down the dump.


For efficient energy absorption, a beam dump must be made of material with high conductivity. They must also have high melting temperature and yield stress. Some of the materials used for beam dumps are beryllium, carbon, aluminum and copper. Water and gas dumps are also used for high power applications. Gas dumps are made of noble gases.


Some of the uses of beam dumps are listed below:

  • Linear particle accelerators
  • Absorb stray laser beams


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