A joint operation, comprising of scientists from the United Stated and Germany, have made a major breakthrough in quantum physics. The team invented an ant-sized particle accelerator, which has 10 times more powerful than the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
The project has a five-year timeframe, in which the scientists must conceive all possible application for this revolutionary new device. We don’t have to stress out the importance of particle accelerators. Without them, it would be impossible to talk about physics nowadays. They are quite useful tool in deciphering the physical concepts of our world.
But, the resources committed into building and maintaining a particle accelerators are enormous. Basically, the accelerator has a simple job: it has to accelerate particles to high velocities. Scientist would then study how such particles behave given a certain velocity. But as the particle’s speed increases, so must the overall length of the particle accelerator. Higher velocities require longer accelerators and longer accelerators entail a high energy consumption. Just to get an idea of what we’re talking about, the SLAC accelerator from California has about 3 kilometers in length.
Alas, the SLAC pales in comparison with the CERN Hadron Collider that measures over 27 kilometers and it was used to discover the Higgs Boson particle.
The ant-sized particle accelerator project started back in 2013, in the labs from Stanford University and continued in the labs of Friedrich-Alexander University. The team of researchers discovered that they able to recreate the same effects of a gigantic particle accelerator, but this time using microscopic elements. So, by using laser light technology and a microscopic glass channel, the researchers have devised a device that is small enough to fit in your palm.
The glasses are constructed using silicates. These special glasses are fitted with microscopic groves, which run along the walls of the glass. A laser beam would light up the glass. What it happens is that the light emanating from the laser interacts with the grooves, thus creating an electrical field. Particles that pass through this electrical field are propelled at high velocities.
According to their initial measurement, it would seem that the ant-sized particle accelerator is 10 times more powerful than the SLAC particle accelerator. But the team’s effort doesn’t stop here. They want to increase the yield of the electrical field to be 100 times more powerful than any particle accelerator out there. Based on their predictions it would seem that the gizmo is capable of creating particles charged with an energy out of a couple of million electron volts.
The team wants to use this technology in order to study biological actions more closely.