Breakthrough in making high-energy gamma ray lasers using antimatter

Gamma-ray lasers could be on the brink of being created.

Published Dec 9, 2019 1:35 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 11:46 AM CST
1 minute & 0 seconds read time

The University of California just made a breakthrough in harnessing the most powerful light in the universe, which could lead to the creation of gamma-ray lasers.

Breakthrough in making high-energy gamma ray lasers using antimatter |

Firstly, gamma rays are electromagnetic radiation that is emitted from the radioactive decay of atomic nuclei. Usually, these rays are extremely brief and very, very bright, meaning they harbor the most photon energy. Scientists at the University of California have figured out a way to make stable positronium atoms, which is the stepping stone to creating gamma-ray lasers that could lead to massive technological upgrades.

So how is this done? Scientists take a hydrogen-like atom that combines a mixture of both matter and antimatter (electrons and their antiparticles positrons) and collide them together - the collision results in gamma-ray photons being produced. So, to create gamma-ray lasers, scientists were required to find a way to stabilize the production process of gamma-ray photons by keeping the positronium atoms in the same quantum state. This was done through the use of helium, or, more precisely, liquid helium.

Professor Allen Mills of the UC Riverside Department of Physics and Astronomy shows how spherical bubbles containing positronium atom gas can be kept at a stable level using liquid helium. Here's what he had to say, "My calculations show that a bubble in liquid helium containing a million atoms of positronium would have a number density six times that of ordinary air and would exist as a matter-antimatter Bose-Einstein condensate."

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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