Gamma rays travel beyond the limits of light

Gamma rays travel beyond the limits of light

Researchers have discovered a new way to produce high energy photon beams. The new method makes it possible to produce these gamma rays in a highly efficient way, compared with today’s technique.

The obtained energy is a billion times higher than the energy of photons in visible light. These high intensity gamma rays significantly exceed all known limits, and pave the way towards new fundamental studies.

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“When we exceed the limit of what is currently possible, we can see deeper into the basic elements of nature. We can dive into the deepest part of the atomic nuclei,” says Arkady Gonoskov, researcher at the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology.

Numerical Models and Analytic Estimates

The new method an outcome of a collaboration between Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, Institute of Applied Physics and Lobachevsky University in Russia and University of Plymouth in the UK.

Moreover, physicists in different fields, as well as computer scientists, have managed to work out the numerical models and analytic estimates. For simulating these ultra-strong gamma rays in a new and somehow unexpected way.

In normal cases, if you shoot a laser pulse at an object, all the particles scatter. But if the laser light is intense enough and all parameters are right. The researchers found particles are trapped. They form cloud where particles of matter and antimatter are created and start to behave in a very unusual way.

“The cloud of trapped particles efficiently converts the laser energy into cascades of high energy photons it is a phenomena. It’s an amazing thing that the photons from this source can be of such high energy,” says Mattias Marklund, professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.

Although, the discovery is highly relevant for the future large scale laser facilities that are under development right now. The most intense light sources on earth produced at such research facilities as big as football fields.

“Our concept already part of the experimental program for one such facility, Exawatt Center for Extreme Light Studies in Russia.

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We still don’t know where these studies will lead us. But we know there are things to discover within nuclear physics. However, with fundamental studies, you can aim at something and end up discovering something completely. Different which is more interesting and important,” says Arkady Gonoskov.