We consider three types of electron accelerators that can be used for various applications, such as industrial, medical, cargo inspection, and isotope production applications, and that require small- and medium-sized machines, namely classical microtron (CM), race-track microtron (RTM), and multisection linac. We review the principles of their operation, the specific features of the beam dynamics in these machines, discuss their advantages and weak points, and compare their technical characteristics. In particular, we emphasize the intrinsic symmetry of the stability region of microtrons. We argue that RTMs can be a preferable choice for medium energies (up to 100 MeV) and that the range of their potential applications can be widened, provided that the beam current losses are significantly reduced. In the article, we analyze two possible solutions in detail, namely increasing the longitudinal acceptance of an RTM using a higher-order harmonic accelerating structure and improving beam matching at the injection.
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