High Powered Laser Beam Is ‘Bright As A BILLION Suns’
The high-powered Diocles Laser in Nebraska is changing the way that scientists look at the universe.
One of the most powerful lasers ever created, the remarkable device is capable of delivering the light of a trillion light bulbs on to a single point for approximately one trillionth of a second.
This means that it generates the brightest light ever produced by anything on planet Earth.
Beyond breaking records though, the laser also plays an important role in physics experiments.
One of these, which was conducted recently by scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Extreme Light Laboratory, involved shining the beam on to an intersecting stream of electrons.
The researchers found that such high-energy illumination actually knocks the electrons out of alignment and scatters the light in a particularly unusual way.
“It is amazing,” said physicist Donald Umstadter. “The light’s coming off at different angles, with different colors, depending on how bright it is.”
“What it reveals for the first time is the motion of electrons oscillating in the light fields at nearly the speed of light. They oscillate in a different pattern than they do in normal light.”
On the practical side of things, this technique could one day lead to the development of more effective x-ray scanning technologies for use in both medical and security scanning devices.
“The higher X-ray energies we produce can be used to see through thickly shielded materials, nearly a meter thickness of steel, for cargo inspection, or non-destructive testing and evaluation of critical components,” said Umstadter.