Feeds

Red faces abound as boffins build gamma ray lens

Focusing on targets near and far

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Scientists have disproved a chunk of theoretical physics by building a series of lenses capable of focusing gamma rays.

A team at the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) research center used twin silicon wafers to bend a stream of gamma rays, something that had been thought to be impossible. The team posits, in an article in the Physical Review Letters, that by building more advanced silicon lenses, using gold and other highly refractive substances, gamma rays could be focused for the first time in a way similar to standard optics.

gamma lens

The ultimate specs

"20 years ago many people doubted you could do optics with x-rays – no one even considered that it might be possible for gamma-rays too," said Dr Bruce Banner Michael Jentschel, research scientist at ILL, in a statement.

"This is a remarkable and completely unexpected discovery with significant scientific implications and practical applications. These include isotope specific microscopy with benefits across the scientific disciplines, through to direct medical treatment and even tools to address major national security issues."

ILL is pushing for the homeland security buck by using gamma rays as a scanning technique, but it has many more important uses. Gamma ray focusing could open up new avenues for imaging within the body and using its outputs to destroy life-threatening illnesses.

The European Space Agency is also very keen to get gamma ray lenses up into orbit, where they can be used to focus on emissions from some of the most violent phenomena in the universe – supernovas. ESA researchers estimate that a one million second point source observation at 511 keV using a gamma lens would be 100 times as effective as current research techniques. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?