Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Accelerating neutral atoms on a table top

Date:
January 27, 2013
Source:
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Summary:
Conventional as well as compact laser-based particle acceleration schemes hinge on accelerating electric fields and are therefore ineffective for neutral atoms, which do not respond to these fields. Researchers have now generated a table-top mega-electron-volt neutral atom source. The technique involves the stripping of eight electrons per Argon atom in a cluster, accelerate the ions and subsequently put back the electrons into the ions with 100 percent conversion efficiency.

Highly charged Argon ions (orange) exploding from a nanocluster are reduced to neutrals (blue) in a mm accelerator due to dense excited clusters (green).
Credit: Dr. Rajeev Rajendran, TIFR

Charged particle accelerators have become crucially important to modern day life, be it in health care for cancer treatment or for answering important fundamental scientific questions like the existence of the HIGGS boson, the so called 'God particle'.

In a simple picture, charged particles like electrons and protons are accelerated between two end plates across which an electrical voltage is applied. High energies need high voltages (millions and billions of volts) and long acceleration paths in giant sized machines -- for instance the trillion volt machine called the 'large hadron collider' (LHC) which discovered the Higgs boson, circles over 27 km underground in Geneva! A new concept for a compact accelerator was discovered in the last decade using high powered, short pulses of laser light.

Alternating large electric fields of the light can be transformed in plasmas to create quasi static fields that can produce hundreds of millions volt accelerating voltages just over millimeter lengths on a table top!

How do we accelerate neutral particles -- i.e. particles that cannot be energized by electrical voltages? And do it over millimeters rather than hundreds of meters and moreover using lasers? Research at Ultra Short Pulse High Intensity Lab in TIFR has now found a novel scheme that can do precisely this. The concept uses the ability of powerful lasers to strip nearly 8 electrons per atom in a nano sized, cooled aggregate of argon atoms- a nano piece of ice. A 40,000 atom cluster of argon is charged to 320,000 by a laser that lasts only a 100 billionth of a millionth of a second. Such a super highly charged ice piece explodes soon after, accelerating the charged atoms (Ions) to a million electron volts of energy. The TIFR research now found that all the expelled electrons can be put back into the charged ion that has been accelerated so that it now reverts to being a neutral atom but at high energies. To top it all, this process is nearly 100% efficient at neutralizing the speeding ions and converting them to fast atoms.

Accelerated neutral atoms are very important for many applications. Unaffected by electric or magnetic fields, they penetrate deeper in solids than electrons/ions and thereby create high finesse microstructures for novel electronics and optical devices. Fast atoms are used both as diagnostics and heating sources in Tokomak machines like the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) in France, that are being developed to create sustained thermo-nuclear fusion. The TIFR scheme can produce a point source of fast neutral atoms close to the location of an intended application.

This certainly shows that staying neutral under extreme provocation has its advantages.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. "Accelerating neutral atoms on a table top." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130127134204.htm>.
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. (2013, January 27). Accelerating neutral atoms on a table top. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130127134204.htm
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. "Accelerating neutral atoms on a table top." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130127134204.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Manufacturer Prints 3-D Car In Record Time

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — Automobile manufacturer Local Motors created a drivable electric car using a 3-D printer. Printing the body only took 44 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Refurbished New York Subway Tunnel Unveiled After Sandy Damage

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 15, 2014) — New York officials unveil subway tunnels that were refurbished after Superstorm Sandy. Nathan Frandino reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Frustration As Drone Industry Outpaces Regulation In U.S.

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — U.S. firms worry they’re falling behind in the marketplace as the FAA considers how to regulate commercial drones. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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