There are basically two applications for the cyclotron. It's a particle accelerator, and, though it can be adapted to accelerate any charged particle, it is most frequently ap…plied to accelerate positive charges. Protons are frequently the choice. We use the cyclotron in the physics lab, and in medicine..
In the medical area we are developing the cyclotron as a proton treatment source. More medical facilities are being set up with the cyclotron providing accelerated protons to irradiate tissue. The proton, unlike gamma rays, has a depth of penetration that can be finely tuned (by "tuning" the cyclotron) to limit damage to other tissues..
The cyclotron is also used to create radioactive materials that are used as radiation sources which can be implanted. The radioactive materials can also be used as tracers in medical work ups and in research, and also to provide "luminosity" in some imaging because of the way tissue takes up these selected materials. These mostly short-lived radionuclides are "big business" in medical and biophysics..
In the physics laboratory, we use the cyclotron to create particle streams that we then slam into targets. This is the continuation of research to investigate the quantum mechanical world. The cyclotron can be used to "feed" another or other accelerators to get higher energies and a "bigger bang" in the world of collisions, called scattering. (MORE)