Another day, another record is set – this time around it is not an athletic one, but rather, it is a record set by a laser-plasma ‘tabletop’ particle accelerator. In other words, this works in more or less a similar manner to that of the way a surfer picks up speed when skimming down the face of a wave. Thanks to researchers over at Berkeley Lab, they have managed to accelerate particles to unheard-of speeds thanks to a record-setting compact accelerator. This unique device was developed by researchers over at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and what makes this achievement all the more impressive is the fact that it is tiny enough to fit onto a kitchen table.
It has the ability to produce acceleration energy of close to 4.25 giga-electron volts – which so happens to be a record where laser-plasma accelerators are concerned, and is more than 1,000 times as powerful compared to a larger standard particle accelerator. This “tabletop” accelerator would make use of the world’s most powerful laser to “shoot” electrons down a plasma tube that measures all of 3.5” in length. When one takes into comparison CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, that has a tube which circles and reconnects, resulting in a 17-mile loop.