Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Accelerator in Your Pocket?

And speaking of GeV, here's a somewhat old article pointed out in Slashdot yesterday: "From Zero to a Billion Electron Volts in 3.3 Centimeters: Highest Energies Yet From Laser-Wakefield Acceleration".
Impressive as this is, "It's the tip of the iceberg," says Leemans. "We are already working on injection" -- inserting an already energetic beam into an accelerating cavity -- "and staging," the handoff of an energetic beam from one capillary to the next and subsequently to others, until very high energy beams are achieved. "Brookhaven physicist Bill Weng has remarked that achieving staging in a laser wakefield accelerator would validate 25 years of DOE investment in this field."

Leemans's group and their collaborators look forward to the challenge with confidence. "In DOE's Office of Science, the High Energy Physics office has asked us to look into what it would take to go to 10GeV. We believe we can do that with an accelerator less than a meter long -- although we'll probably need 30 meters' worth of laser path."
Holy crap.

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