On Dec 9, 2014, at 8:52 AM, <larry.r.trout> wrote:
'Scientists have found a way to accelerate subatomic particles to an energy gradient 1,000 times that of the massive Large Hadron Collider at CERN — all with a device that would fit on a tabletop.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkely National Lab used a specialized petawatt laser and plasma to speed up the particles. Known as a laser-plasma accelerator, it allows physicists to shrink the standard accelerator, which in the case of CERN is miles long, to much more compact machines, according to Gizmag.
Scientists shot plasma with a laser and produced energy of 4.25 giga-electron volts. The Large Hadron Collider, which is 17 miles in circumference and uses a series of modulated electromagnetic fields, can only achieve 100 mega-electron volts per meter before the energy starts to threaten the metal structure that holds it together.
The device put together by the Berkeley Lab is just a plasma tube that is 3.5 inches long, achieving a speed that would typically take many miles for a standard particle accelerator.
There is a catch, however: The approach of laser-plasma accelerators is entirely different, and used one of the most powerful lasers in the world, the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA), which produced a beam of light that equates to a quadrillion watts of power, or a petawatt. Researchers focused the laser on the small tube that contained the plasma.
The team was able to focus the laser beam into a 500 micro hole from a distance of 14 meters, which produced huge waves of rolling energy that accelerated free electrons in the plasma, similar to how a surfer increases its speed while going down the face of a wave, according to the report.'