In a dramatic scientific development, some Indian scientists have made the world's first table-top accelerator to speed up neutral particles to high speeds. It opens up new possibilities in making highly sophisticated electronic gadgets. The research at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research’s Ultra Short Pulse High Intensity Lab has been published in Nature Physics.
Particle accelerators - like the one at CERN, Geneva where scientists had found the Higgs Boson last year - are typically huge machines, often several kilometres in diameter. But in the past decade, as applications of high-energy particle beams have increased, scientists have been working on reducing the size of these accelerators.
Image Courtesy: The Hindustan Times
Scientists have developed accelerators that use electric fields to propel electrons to high speeds. But charged particles are inferior to high-speed neutral particles in making fine electronic gadgets. Now the TIFR team has shown that way to strip atoms of electrons, accelerate and reunite them with the electrons at those speeds - in a few millimetres.
The concept is also nearly 100% efficient - it reconverts all the ions back to neutral atoms after acceleration.