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X-Ray Laser For Creating Supercharged Particles 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the charge-it-up dept.
William Robinson writes "Scientists have found way to use X-Ray Lasers to create supercharged particles. The specific tuning of the laser's properties can cause atoms and molecules to resonate. The resonance excites the atoms and causes them to shake off electrons at a rate that otherwise would require higher energies. This could be used to create highly charged plasma."
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X-Ray Laser For Creating Supercharged Particles

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  • IANAP (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gagol (583737) on Monday November 12, 2012 @03:06AM (#41954575)
    I am not a theorical phycisist... Would it help achieve achieve sustainable fusion? What applications do this new cool tech can provide? Thanks to the boffins around for your time.
    • Re:IANAP (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @07:02AM (#41955183)

      I am not a theorical phycisist... Would it help achieve achieve sustainable fusion? What applications do this new cool tech can provide? Thanks to the boffins around for your time.

      An example for applciation: High charged particles are used for ion-beam radiotherapy in the fight against cancer. There are no known side-effects like at chemotherapy, but of course you cannot use the beam for every type of cancer. Unfortunately, the acutal beam of high chared particles needs an particle-accelerator which dimensons surpasses any garage. The new tech could probaly shrink the size of an ion generator, which would help to spreade the therapy with ions more to compensate the common x-ray radiotherapy with its bad collateral damage. (see Bragg-Peak)

      • by gagol (583737)
        Superb information, someone mod it up and thanks to the AC.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        What I've seen of heavy ion beam therapy uses carbon ions, which should be something that could be fully ionized in something the size of shoe-box to a mini-fridge depending on if you want to count the power supply and vacuum equipment. The majority of the size is that ion based therapy uses much higher energies of couple hundred MeV per particle than other kinds of beam based therapy. This probably won't help much with that, especially considering in this case the x-ray laser source uses a GeV electron a
        • by the gnat (153162)

          This probably won't help much with that, especially considering in this case the x-ray laser source uses a GeV electron accelerator.

          And is several miles long - it's dug into the hillside above Stanford.

    • by peragrin (659227)

      fusion I want plasma weapons .

      created a dense field of plasma and fire it out of a coil gun.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      For fusion, at least thermal based fusion, the temperatures used would be thousand times that what is needed to ionize hydrogen or helium. So the fuel is fully ionized through the majority of the plasma in most fusion setups, with the hard part being keeping plasma hot and dense enough so there is time for nuclei to collied and fuse. Higher atomic number elements would be harder to fully ionize, but also would require higher temperatures for fusion anyway.

      Although the problem with larger elements, is th

  • Exciting molecules by resonance: a kitchen microwave does that.
    Shaking molecules until they lose their electrons? That's called heating. That's how CRTs work.

    So, these guys found a way to heat up a bit of material with X-ray lasers... M'kay...

    The only substantial passage of the article is where they say researchers can use their "recipe" to maximize (or minimize the effect). That's a bit thin...

    • by Rakshasa-sensei (533725) on Monday November 12, 2012 @03:25AM (#41954627) Homepage

      "The resonance excites the atoms and causes them to shake off electrons at a rate that otherwise would require higher energies."

      Sometimes the difference between something significant and something already done lies in the details that stupid people are too quick to gloss over.

      • Did you read what I wrote? Heating atoms by making them enter resonance is not new, and everybody knows the efficiency is maximum at resonance. All these guys did is change the frequency, more or less.

        • by someone1234 (830754) on Monday November 12, 2012 @03:48AM (#41954691)

          They should also reverse the polarity. That would be cool.

          • by Konster (252488)

            You could always sublux the inverter through the phase array, which is a faster way of corrugating the tachyons than simply reversing the polarity.

        • This isn't "heating atoms by making them enter resonance." It's, ah, one of those details that GP was talking about. The part where the inner electrons of large atoms follow many and complicated multi-photon-absorbtion paths to being ionized, which extremely high-spin orbitals as well as a near continuum of high-laying Rydberg orbitals, which mean that slight changes in pulse length, shaping, and frequency will be able to have a large effect on ionization rates.

          Let me give you a hint: If there's a paper being published in Nature about it, they probably did not, in fact, "just, like, change the dial, man."
          • by delt0r (999393)
            Real physicists publish in Physics Review or their like. Not that crap that is Nature and Science.

            Pro tip, Nature and Science don't care about good science, they care about citations, aka their own impact factor. That often means controversial/political topics (to a point), wrong, or so short that there is no science in the paper (massive supplements don't count).
            • by Anonymous Coward

              It isn't that hard to get a paper into a Physics Review or PRL, and for some fields, that is kind of the go to journal(s). Many physicists would be happy to publish in Nature and would consider it a step up in publicity. It is not like it makes the science in their paper worse, and I doubt many get rejected from Physics Review and decide to submit to Nature next as a backup.

        • 'Everyone' knows about the efficiency theoretically, but they actually made it work at such high frequencies and they superseded the expected practical limits by a large margin.

          You still can't think it seems.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Tuning a laser to the resonant frequency of a specific atom so that it requires LESS energy to strip electons than theoretically calculated is NOT the same thing as heating the bipolar water molecules in your cup-o-soup while you're on break from workin in the coal mine.

      M'kay...

      Seems odd that it's x-rays that escape a black hole, though it may be coincidental. Do you think there's a connection, and would you speculate on how many kitchen microwaves it might take to allow this to happen? Or what exactly is r

      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        M'kay...

        Seems odd that it's x-rays that escape a black hole, though it may be coincidental.

        X-rays are electromagnetic radiation that does not escape black holes. It would be neat because unlike light it is dark.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Microwave ovens don't use any particular resonance and aren't even near the peak absorption, off by a factor of 10 in frequency from the peak for room temperature water and still off by a factor of 3-4 for boiling water (peak varies from ~100 GHz for 0 C water to ~10 GHz for 100 C water). The frequency used in microwave ovens is determined by what blocks of the spectrum have been allocated for industrial use and economics. It is why in industrial microwave ovens they use 900 MHz, because it is another ind

    • by PerlPunk (548551)
      I think they ran this story just to feature the shark-fin icon. So to the Slashdot gods: yeah, many of us "get it."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @07:19AM (#41955239)

    Dysprosium was one of the first elements to be tinkered with in this way.
    Odd thing is , that stable nuclei can become unstable as electrons are removed.
    The electron cloud is in some way involved in conserving the nucleus.

  • I'm no physicist but...

    Would this have any application as auxilliary heating in tokamaks? Does it work efficiently with light elements?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...no more turbo lag.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Monday November 12, 2012 @07:47AM (#41955291)
    Is this the same thing that we called "highly ionized" when I was younger? The writing of the article is atrocious, I have the feeling that somebody was gleefully playing with words like a small child. There is no such thing as "very highly charged plasma" - at least comparatively, compared to the total number of free charge carriers - ions and free electrons. It it were, the whole thing wouldn't simply hold together. Plasma is outwardly electrically neutral, or almost neutral.
    • by baffled (1034554)

      IANAP, but if what you say is accurate, it seems 'highly charged plasma' would consist of more free electrons per ion on average.. Effectively, more electrons are stripped from the atoms. Which is precisely what it says in the article. I was also confused by the use of the term "supercharged", as it appears to connote highly charged, and not the "supercharge" related to supersymmetry.

      I am surprised the data they gathered here is new. It would seem prudent for scientists to gather data on the absorptance

    • by Anonymous Coward

      While plasma in most situations is roughly neutral, it is not inherently so. Research in non-neutral plasmas is an active field. The most practical application currently is understanding charged particle beams and their use in things from accelerators to some kinds of microwave generating sources. Additionally, research is done on low temperature trapped charged particles, for uses such as measuring fundamental particle and atomic properties, test beds for antimatter storage, or research into dynamics (i

  • IANAPP, but have been a = average musician for a while, and from what i gather from TFA, they're creating a resonance that "maximizes the loss of electrons in a sample". It looks to me as if they've found a "harmonic" frequency for a given Element, that can either be used to coerce electrons out, or avoid as they need. I used all those words broadly, i'm just trying to picture it. The idea of Quanta is something that has always had me going in circles. Max Planck Ftw.

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