Feeds

ATOM SMASHER ON A CHIP technology demonstrated

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

Remote control for virtualized 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
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
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' – rocking 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 ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
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.
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.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.