Physicists from Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin have found a new recipe for using intense lasers to create positrons — the antiparticle of electrons — in record numbers and density.
In a series of experiments described recently in the online journal Scientific Reports published by Nature, the researchers used UT’s Texas Petawatt Laser to make large number of positrons by blasting tiny gold and platinum targets.
Although the positrons were annihilated in a fraction of a microsecond, the experiments have implications for new realms of physics and astrophysics research, medical therapy and perhaps even space travel, said Rice physicist Edison Liang, lead author of the study.
Ref: High e+/e− Ratio Dense Pair Creation with 1021W.cm−2 Laser Irradiating Solid Targets. Scientific Reports (September 2015) | DOI: 10.1038/srep13968