Thought for the month

“You cannot have freedom without a rule of law ... and if you don't have it, what you tend to get is corruption and that is death to freedom, it's death to truth, it's death to honour, it's death to democracy.”

Margaret Thatcher, 1 October 1996.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Diamond, not forever?

Recently (Imperial X-ray tabletop) researchers from Imperial College London, the University of Michigan and Instituto Superior Téchnico Lisbon have described a tabletop instrument that produces synchrotron X-rays, whose energy and quality allegedly rivals that produced by some of the largest X-ray facilities in the world ("Bright spatially-coherent synchrotron X-rays from a tabletop source" Nature Physics 24 October 2010, Imperial X-ray tabletop 2). Based on a helium ion plasma, the acceleration and X-ray production happens over less than a centimetre with the whole tabletop X-ray source housed in a vacuum chamber that is approximately 1 metre on each side. Apparently, the Diamond Light Source synchrotron facility in Didcot, UK, is 0.5km in circumference and cost £263M to build.

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