Laser energy density in plasma at start and end of laser pulse (Image: Carlo Benedetti/LBL)
Lasers could dramatically shrink the size and cost of particle accelerators such as the LHC pictured here (Image: CERN)
Particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are wonders of modern engineering and vending machines for Nobel prizes, but they’re also large – as indicated by the LHC's name – and costly. A new theoretical study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA) Center suggests how lasers could dramatically shrink the size and cost of particle accelerator. If the models hold true, it could remove a significant bottleneck from physics research and open up such machines to industrial and medical applications.
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