Feeds

ATOM SMASHER ON A CHIP technology demonstrated

Is that a Large Hadron Collider in your pocket or ... oh, you've lost it already

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Stanford uni scientists have created a particle accelerator on a chip smaller than a grain of rice (albeit one that won't actually accelerate particles).

The details are in heavyweight boffinry mag Nature, in a paper titled Demonstration of electron acceleration in a laser-driven dielectric microstructure.

Particle acceleration is, apparently, a two-stage process before you can successfully smash subatomic particles into each other and see what comes out the other side.

First, you must get the electrons up to speed and then ramp up their energy using electric fields and a precisely engineered tube of ridges. Crucially, this amount of energy determines the resulting matter that flies out of any collisions, which is why this property is important.

The new tiny chip does that second bit, providing the extra push using etched glass and an infra-red laser as this wonderfully informative video demonstrates:

Youtube Video

Next up is the challenge of getting the electrons up to speed in the first place, and a collaborating team from Germany's Max Planck Institute has simultaneously published first experiments utilising a less-easily-animated technique to accomplish that.

If that technique works, and if it were combined with the new chip of etched glass, it should be possible to create small and cheap particle accelerators, allowing anyone to probe the mysteries of the early universe from the kitchen table.

Fun as that would be, the more practical applications are portable x-ray generators, including those suitable for medical imaging, which is why everybody's favourite crazy-tech-funder DARPA is prominent on the list of backers (though the US government's Office of Science covered most of the costs). ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.