Feeds

Lotsa lasers an option for the Next Big Physics

What's next after colliders?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

If you thought the world of big physics was drawing to a close with the confirmation that yes, the Higgs boson appears to be a boson and appears to be a Higgs, think again: CERN's boffins, along with thinkers of deep thoughts from École Polytechnique, Southampton University's Optoelectronics Centre and Jena are imagining what the world's next generation of particle accelerators may look like.

The answer might be “a very, very bright laser”, and to look at the feasibility of this, they've joined together with a dozen other laboratories worldwide to form the ICAN – the International Coherent Amplification Network – consortium.

What they hope to establish is whether lasers could produce both the huge energy inputs a post-LHC particle physics would need, at the same time as getting the high pulse repetition rates required.

However, rather than a single laser with enough power to deliver an Earth-shattering kaboom – which in a particle acceleration context would then have to be recharged thousands of times each second – ICAN's idea is to slave together a large number of far smaller lasers.

Scattering the laser sources to the four winds – apologies, massively distributing the laser sources – allows the power to be similarly distributed, which at the megawatt scale is easier than in a single device.

In the context of particle physics, a laser could impart enough energy to accelerate particles to high energy over distances “measured in centimetres rather than kilometres as is the case today using conventional technology,” said consortium leader, École's Gérard Mourou.

Doing without the huge machines and cost of an LHC “is of critical importance for the future of high-energy physics”, he added.

According to the University of Southampton's Dr Bill Brocklesby, recent proof-of-concept work has demonstrated that the disparate lasers can be controlled “within a fraction of a wavelength … thousands of fibres can be controlled to provide a laser output powerful enough to accelerate electrons to energies of several GeV at 10 kHz repetition rate.”

Their work has been published in Nature Photonics (abstract here). ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.