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 …
... 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.
^^^ see title.
Wake me up when it's Gamma rays.
Not sure if that's any better!
That'll get the die size down,
Disappointed that it wasn't from our mogwai friend.
"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.
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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?
Please, please do Contact us. Being the control group is BORING!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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...
"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.
well no this is New math, just like New Labour. It does not have to be true as long as it sounds nice / spectacular.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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]
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).
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.
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?
...according to some.
In an effort to stay relevant this Xaser should be provided from a fondeslab.
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.
I'm now concerned about x-ray laser wielding scientists rampaging over the city. Run for your lives!
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