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A charged particle beam is a spatially localized group of electrically charged particles that have approximately the same position, kinetic energy (resulting in the same velocity), and direction. The kinetic energies of the particles are much larger than the energies of particles at ambient temperature. The high energy and directionality of charged particle beams make them useful for applications (see Particle Beam Usage and Electron beam technology).
Such beams can be split into two main classes:
These parameters can be expressed in various ways. For example, the current and beam size can be combined into the current density, and the current and energy (or beam voltage V) can be combined into the perveance K = I V−3/2.