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Science & Technology

Laser beam is 'as bright as a billion suns'

By T.K. Randall
June 26, 2017 · Comment icon 12 comments

Laser beams have a number of practical and scientific uses. Image Credit: NASA
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.

Source: | Comments (12)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Sundew 6 years ago
Popcorn, anyone?
Comment icon #4 Posted by Timonthy 6 years ago
I know that is†very hot. And†I know that is a very small†amount of time. But is there a knowledgeable person here who could say what that would do to a person if it were aimed at them?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Adampadum123 6 years ago
This could be be used to get all the space junk cleaned up
Comment icon #6 Posted by Timonthy 6 years ago
This is one of the current plans:†
Comment icon #7 Posted by ChrLzs 6 years ago
Comment icon #8 Posted by The_V_Spirit 6 years ago
i'm more concerned of the cancer issues involving this!
Comment icon #9 Posted by Timonthy 6 years ago
Here's an educational video to allay your concern: †
Comment icon #10 Posted by taniwha 6 years ago
The brightest light flash recorded so far in the universe was as bright as†570 billion suns!!† †
Comment icon #11 Posted by The_V_Spirit 6 years ago
fun vid bro! brought back Aussie childhood memories! But i wasn't just referring to skin cancer. According to the post, the technology is going to be used in X-Ray scanning†and security monitoring; and we all know how it can affect our cells to multiply irregularly, thus causing cancers. †
Comment icon #12 Posted by Calibeliever 6 years ago
God: And Kent ... Kent: Yes? God: Stop touching yourself. Kent: It is God.

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