Thought for the month
“It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.” Edmund Burke, politician (1729 – 97).
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.