Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Laser hints at how universe got its magnetism

Date:
March 24, 2012
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
Scientists have used a laser to create magnetic fields similar to those thought to be involved in the formation of the first galaxies; findings that could help to solve the riddle of how the universe got its magnetism.

Composite image: the left side is a laser-produced shock wave whilst the right is a simulation of a collapsing shock wave arising during the pre-galactic phase.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Oxford

Scientists have used a laser to create magnetic fields similar to those thought to be involved in the formation of the first galaxies; findings that could help to solve the riddle of how the Universe got its magnetism.

Related Articles


Magnetic fields exist throughout galactic and intergalactic space, what is puzzling is how they were originally created and how they became so strong.

A team, led by Oxford University physicists, used a high-power laser to explode a rod of carbon, similar to pencil lead, in helium gas. The explosion was designed to mimic the cauldron of plasma -- an ionized gas containing free electrons and positive ions -- out of which the first galaxies formed.

The team found that within a microsecond of the explosion strong electron currents and magnetic fields formed around a shock wave. Astrophysicists took these results and scaled them through 22 orders-of-magnitude to find that their measurements matched the 'magnetic seeds' predicted by theoretical studies of galaxy formation.

A report of the research is published in a recent issue of the journal Nature.

'Our experiment recreates what was happening in the early Universe and shows how galactic magnetic fields might have first appeared,' said Dr Gianluca Gregori of Oxford University's Department of Physics, who led the work at Oxford. 'It opens up the exciting prospect that we will be able to explore the physics of the cosmos, stretching back billions of years, in a laser laboratory here on Earth.'

The results closely match theories which predict that tiny magnetic fields -- 'magnetic seeds' -- precede the formation of galaxies. These fields can be amplified by turbulent motions and can strongly affect the evolution of the galactic medium from its early stages.

Dr Gregori said: 'In the future, we plan to use the largest lasers in the world, such as the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California (USA), to study the evolution of cosmic plasma.'

The experiments were conducted at the Laboratoire pour l'Utilisation de Lasers Intenses laser facility in France.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. Gregori, A. Ravasio, C. D. Murphy, K. Schaar, A. Baird, A. R. Bell, A. Benuzzi-Mounaix, R. Bingham, C. Constantin, R. P. Drake, M. Edwards, E. T. Everson, C. D. Gregory, Y. Kuramitsu, W. Lau, J. Mithen, C. Niemann, H.-S. Park, B. A. Remington, B. Reville, A. P. L. Robinson, D. D. Ryutov, Y. Sakawa, S. Yang, N. C. Woolsey, M. Koenig, F. Miniati. Generation of scaled protogalactic seed magnetic fields in laser-produced shock waves. Nature, 2012; 481 (7382): 480 DOI: 10.1038/nature10747

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Laser hints at how universe got its magnetism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120324144958.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2012, March 24). Laser hints at how universe got its magnetism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120324144958.htm
University of Oxford. "Laser hints at how universe got its magnetism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120324144958.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crowdfunded Moon Mission Offers To Store Your Digital Memory

Crowdfunded Moon Mission Offers To Store Your Digital Memory

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) Lunar Mission One is offering to send your digital memory (or even your DNA) to the moon to be stored for a billion years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Accidents Ignite Debate on US Commercial Space Travel

Accidents Ignite Debate on US Commercial Space Travel

AFP (Nov. 19, 2014) Serious accidents with two US commercial spacecraft within a week of each-other in October have re-ignited the debate over the place of private corporations in the exploration of space. Duration: 02:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lunar Mission One Could Send Your Hair to The Moon

Lunar Mission One Could Send Your Hair to The Moon

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) A British-led venture called Lunar Mission One plans to send a module to the moon with keepsakes from Earth. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) tells you how to get your photos and DNA onboard. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins