A group of researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), in Germany, has developed a new technique that will allow the most extreme processes that take place in the universe to be replicated on a small scale in a laboratory. For example, it will be possible to study in detail the strong areas of gravitational attraction related to black holes or the strong magnetic fields of neutron stars.
Even the discovered process manages to create a jet of antimatter and is accelerated very efficiently. Two high-intensity laser beams are integrated, producing a collision so violent that it generates an extremely large number of gamma photons , light particles with an energy even greater than that of X-rays.
The gamma radiation is a kind of electromagnetic radiation from radioactive elements or subatomic processes, but can also occur under astrophysical phenomena of great violence. Depending on their high energy concentrations, gamma rays can penetrate deep into matter.
A COLLISION OF MAXIMUM INTENSITY
According to a press release , the concept created begins with a small block of plastic, traversed by micrometric channels. The element functions as a target for two high-intensity lasers, which simultaneously fire ultra-strong pulses at the block, from opposite directions.
As the laser pulses penetrate the sample, each of them accelerates a cloud of electrons extremely rapidly. Both clouds are rapidly approaching and interacting with lasers, leading to an intense collision that produces gamma photons.
All this “swarm” of gamma photons reaches such a density that, in a moment, the light particles inevitably collide with each other. This impact is what allows the new technique to produce antimatter and generate conditions that currently can only be reproduced in advanced and complex particle accelerators.
TO SOLVE MYSTERIES
Now, according to the conclusions of the new study published in the journal Communications Physics, it would be possible to reproduce with this instrument some characteristics of the most intense cosmic events, such as those that occur in the magnetic fields of neutron stars or jets of matter. produced by the gravitational pull of black holes .
In the same sense, one could study the conditions of antimatter, a less frequent form of matter that is made up of antiparticles , in contrast to ordinary matter, made up of particles. In general terms, an antiparticle is the “complementary opposite” that corresponds to each particle present in nature: it has the same mass and other similar conditions but an opposite electric charge.
The new technique will be very useful for astrophysics and nuclear physics, allowing phenomena that develop in extreme space or in very complex and special conditions to be brought to the laboratory. With this breakthrough, researchers will be able to understand them in depth and begin to solve some of the mysteries that still exist around the nature of the universe.