Scientists managed to make an antimatter accelerator that is about 1000 times smaller than what is currently available. This can boost experimenting with exotic particles and it can allow researchers to tackle more mysteries concerning physics, from finding out more about the Higgs boson, dark matter or dark energy to helping with testing aircraft or computer chips.
How was it made?
By using existing laser properties, scientists were able to model this method and if it is proven to work, this would mean that a lot of labs across the globe would gain access to experimenting with antimatter acceleration.
What does a particle accelerator do?
Now, there are a few large accelerators that are able of speeding up particles like protons or electrons. The most important ones are in CERN (the Large Hadron Collider) and at Stanford (the Linac Coherent Light Source). Here is where elementary particles are smashed together to gain access to even more elementary particles, like the Higgs boson.
Another purpose of this kind of experiment is generating X-ray laser light which can be used for gain vision of small processes, like photosynthesis. For now, particle accelerators need at least two kilometers of distance to gain enough speed for their experimental particles.
Not too long ago, scientists from the Imperial College from London managed to decrease this distance to only meters and just recently, a researcher at Imperial has done it again, claiming that the distance could reach the level of centimeters.
This accelerator is based on a type of laser system that can currently cover about 25 square meters. The new method would drastically reduce costs and distance, making it available to more scientists, thus increasing the chance of gathering new knowledge. Dr. Sahai, the method’s researcher is confident that in just a couple of years he will produce a working prototype.
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