Feeds

Boffins build powerful yet 'table-top size' atom-smasher

Suitcase plasma cannon collider surfs on friggin LASERS

Top three mobile application threats

Forget about mounting your lasers on the nearest shark, what you really want is a laser plasma accelerator you can put on your kitchen table.

Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have managed to create powerful electron beams from much, much, much smaller accelerators than before, which could be used as compact high-energy colliders for fundamental physics – doing the sort of research the Large Hadron Collider is doing right now.

The wee accelerators could also be used as "sources of intensely bright beams of light" for investigating new materials, biological structures and green chemistry. Or, presumably, for table-top disco lighting.

Wim Leemans, who heads the LOASIS program in Berkeley Lab's Accelerator and Fusion Research Division responsible for the research, uses the analogy of a (special, slightly slower) surfer riding a wave to explain how their accelerator is different.

Beaming a powerful laser pulse through plasma builds up strong electric fields between atomic nuclei and electrons and leaves a wake of waves. Some of the electrons then get caught up in the waves and accelerated to high energy.

According to Leemans, these electrons are surfers caught up in a tsunami. To help the surfers gain better control, scientists have been injecting electrons into the accelerating field, boosted by colliding laser pulses. These little guys try to catch the wave and then a different laser pulse excites the wave. Much like the surfer paddling alongside, then catching and riding the wave, the technique requires timing and synchronisation.

"But there's a third way of helping a surfer catch a wave,” Leemans says, "and that's by slowing the wave until even slow surfers can catch it – then increasing the speed of the wave."

To do this, the researchers introduced a jet of helium gas, which increases the density of the plasma, slowing the waves down. They then use the laser intensity to speed the whole lot back up again once the surfers are onboard

The LOASIS crew presented their research in the journal Nature Physics. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.