back to article Boffins build powerful yet 'table-top size' atom-smasher

Forget about mounting your lasers on the nearest shark, what you really want is a laser plasma accelerator you can put on your kitchen table. Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have managed to create powerful electron beams from much, much, much smaller accelerators …


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  1. ardubbleyu

    Wee accelerators?

    That's taking the pi$$....

  2. Wind Farmer

    Never seen a table-top disco...

    but have witnessed loads of girls that will dance on a bar.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Woah! That was a confusing explanation.

    Really, does the "explaining to kids" strategy work?

    I didn't understand ANYTHING.

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    So we could have sharks

    with frikkin' particle beams instead?

    sounds cool

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    But have seen the *size* of the desktop?

    Slightly more seriously looks like the sort of thing people are talking about to expose the next generation of silicon chips.

    Although 40TW does not sound a small laser to me.

  6. TeeCee Gold badge

    " can put on your kitchen table."

    OI! Where's my portable particle beam cannon you bastards?

  7. Alphonse

    Wee accelerators

    Don't cross the streams!

  8. Gannon (J.) Dick
    Thumb Up


    iSmash Cyclotron Tablet

  9. Anonymous Coward

    It might be built powerfully...

    ... but is it powerfully built?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    You wouldn't want to use it for disco lights

    Those are some powerful X-rays they emit

    (Sorry to be the party pooper)

  11. Tom Maddox Silver badge

    Great timing!

    I wonder if these guys will be at Burning Man?

  12. Jared Vanderbilt

    Sweet .. I can spin up a black hole in my kitchen

    Surfin' the wave of self destruction. Oh, and you're all invited too ... a microsecond later.

  13. Asgard

    My own Hadron Collider?! :)

    So how long before I can have my own Small Hadron Collider. ;)

    1. Michael Dunn


      Depends on how many small hadrons you can rustle up.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    ?Berkeley labs?

    You only used it one additional time in the article. Exactly how much extra wear and tear did you you subject your parenthesis keys, and was it worth it?

  15. Mips

    All this talk...

    ...about waves and surfing and you want me to believe it will not fit in a sharks head.

  16. mhenriday

    Interesting article, BUT

    the comparison with the Large Hadron Collider - «doing the sort of research the Large Hadron Collider is doing right now» is misleading if taken literally. According to the «Nature Physics» abstract, «[t]he technique relies on a single laser pulse powering a plasma structure with a tailored longitudinal density profile, to produce beams that can be tuned in the range of 100– 400 MeV with per-cent-level stability, using laser pulses of less than 40 TW». The LHC, on the other hand, is designed to reach energy levels of some 7 TeV, or about 18-70 thousand times greater. So it seems unlikely that they'll be filling in those 27 km of tunnels on the Franco-Swiss border with landfill just now....


  17. Anonymous Coward

    Some particles are more equal than others

    So these eggheads can now shoot scads of wispy little electrons at whatever. Great. The hadrons should get a charge out of it for sure, but they won't get smashed unless they start sniffing gluons.

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