Thought for the month

“You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young." "Why, what did she tell you?" "I don't know, I didn't listen.” From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, Author (1952-2001)

Friday, 12 November 2010

Diamond, not forever?

Recently (Imperial X-ray tabletop) researchers from Imperial College London, the University of Michigan and Instituto Superior T├ęchnico 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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