Feeds

back to article Pint-size gizmo shoots X-RAY LASER for first time

It was thought that it would take an atomic bomb to produce enough power to generate an X-ray laser, but a team of boffins have fired one from a table-top box of tricks. X-ray lasers need astonishing amounts of power and huge equipment to create extremely short-lived yet coherent beams with a wavelength in the tens of nanometers …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Mushroom

Go boffins!

<-- Obviously.

3
0

"XASER"

Surely?

2
0
Silver badge

Just the thing we need ...

... to fire at anyone wanting to get on a plane in the USA. Well obviously we need to - that 5 year-old kid might be a terrorist, and the manufacturer's salesman assured us that there's no medical risk at all.

5
0
Bronze badge

Small enough for shark mounting?

^^^ see title.

11
0
Anonymous Coward

Wake me up when it's Gamma rays.

1
2
Silver badge

Gayzer?

Oh dear.

1
0

Graser, actually.

2
0
Silver badge

Not sure if that's any better!

0
0
Bronze badge

X-ray lithography?

That'll get the die size down,

8
0
Unhappy

Disappointed that it wasn't from our mogwai friend.

0
0
Alien

Obviously

"Applications of these stupidly high-resolution femtosecond lasers include the study of biological cell structures and chemical reactions."

And useful in thwarting alien hordes as their ships approach Earth.

1
0

Re: Obviously

[broadcast Eclear, sent 1339181710.4]

xGSV Slightly Perturbed

oBOFH Reg Readers

An interesting hypothesis. I have one thing to say to this though:

Do you feel lucky?

Well, do ya?

6
2

Re: Obviously

Please, please do Contact us. Being the control group is BORING!

5
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Obviously

[broadcast Eclear, sent 1339190779.5]

xGSV Slightly Perturbed

oBOFH Reg Readers

As I've already told people (before your kindly Admins decided to vanish my post several months after the fact), there is only so much a fleet of hyperintelligent starships can do at this point.

The rest is up to you, chaps. We'll be waiting when you get here.

4
2
Silver badge

@ GSV Slightly Perturbed - Re: Obviously

[broadcast Eclear, sent 1516790779.5]

xAndreasKoch, aboard d*ROU 'Dinner Is Ready'

oGSV Slightly Perturbed c/o The Register

Stop sounding off, Mind, would you? They'll catch on otherwise.

*sort of....

1
0

Re: @ GSV Slightly Perturbed - Obviously

[broadcast Eclear, sent 1516843456.2]

xWombling_Free, aboard GSV Takes One To Know One

oGSV Slightly Perturbed; oROU Dinner Is Ready

Xray matchsticks now, eh? I don't think they'll be catching on any time soon.

Wake me for the third reel. Then again, perhaps not.

2
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: @ GSV Slightly Perturbed - Obviously

[broadcast Eclear, sent 1518200135.9]

xAndreasKoch, aboard dROU 'Dinner Is Ready'

oGSV Slightly Perturbed; oWombling_Free c/o GSV Takes One To Know One

I'll sent a message when they manage to build a lazy gun; you might as well suspend (or hibernate in the case of Takes One To Know One's organic passenger) for a couple of millennia...

1
0
Anonymous Coward

New math fail

"a wavelength in the tens of nanometers - 1,000 times shorter than that of visible light"

While X-rays can indeed be 1000th the wavelength of visible light, "tens of nanometers" certainly isn't 1000 times shorter than visible light at very broadly 400-700nm.

5
1
wim
Joke

Re: New math fail

well no this is New math, just like New Labour. It does not have to be true as long as it sounds nice / spectacular.

3
1
Bronze badge

Re: New math fail

This is exciting - you appear to have time-travelled here from five years ago! To get you up to speed: we have whizzy phones now, but the country's broke.

6
0

Maths & language fail

1 times sorter than the wavelength in question (or anything for that matter) is no wavelength (or nothing). The other 999 times reductions are redundant.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

so haven't they tried it with sellotape yet?

a reel of sellotape (scotch) when unrolled in a vacuum produces quite a useable amount of x-rays. When unrolling sellotape in the air, in the dark, you can often see the Čerenkov flashes!

0
1

Re: so haven't they tried it with sellotape yet?

Sellotape does indeed produce tiny flashes of light (and x-rays under the right conditions), but I don't believe anyone has suggested that this is Cherenkov radiation - there isn't a plausible mechanism for generating this from adhesive tape.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: so haven't they tried it with sellotape yet?

True, it's more likely Bremsstrahlung than Cerenkov , but according to this Nature letter the Sellotape can produce 100mW @15keV to 100keV bursts.

[Nature 455, 1089-1092 (23 October 2008) doi:10.1038/nature07378 "Correlation between nanosecond X-ray flashes and stick–slip friction in peeling tape"]

A derivative paper idea postulates that quantum electrodynamic effects from nano materials in Sellotape create the X-ray and RF bursts, making it potentially dangerous to wrap your Christmas presents in a vacuum. Annoyingly for geeks, Duct Tape fails to generate X-rays! [http://www.prlog.org/10173358-nanoparticles-that-form-in-peeling-scotch-tape-produce-rays.html]

0
0
Gold badge
Boffin

"Desktop" X-ray lasers have been around for a while.

And El Reg has covered one or two of them.

However the "desktop" has been the size of a small warehouse and usually worked by pumping a large current through a hollow fibre filled with gas. Strictly a one shot system.

This looks a lot smaller and capable of *continuous* operation

Not likely to be very efficient in terms of wall socket power conversion (electricity -> 500 Mid IR photons -> 1 high energy photon).

2
0
Silver badge

Not so new

The pint-sized can discussed here is being shot at with 80 fs, 10 mJ, 3.9 micrometer laser pulses. The latter comes from a decently sized laser. (Think about your garage if you are really well-off, or your living room if you are not).

If you look up the authors and their competition, you'll find that this kind of X-ray lasing is done for about a decade and in some dozens of labs around the world. They just pushed the energy range a bit farther to the blue.

The number of X-ray photons generated by that room of laser equipment is rather puny, so go and Google for LCLS if you want to read about spectacular amounts of X-rays.

0
0

Daisy chain the suckers?

I remember a movie with Val Kilmer where he has this idea of introducing a gas in solid form for the laser and it becomes hugely powerful.

So here the kickstart is a lightbeam. Could they daisy chain them, or use a more powerful kickstart?

0
0
Bronze badge
Trollface

The desktop is dead...

...according to some.

In an effort to stay relevant this Xaser should be provided from a fondeslab.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Interesting

Wonder if this would work with a sufficiently fast diode laser driven in tailbiter mode?

ie pulse it with its maximum rated current then a few nanoseconds later avalanche transistor turns on.

0
0
Silver badge
Alert

Where can I buy some lead underpants?

I'm now concerned about x-ray laser wielding scientists rampaging over the city. Run for your lives!

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.