Thought for the month

“Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction the sign of truth.” Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and physicist (1623 – 62).

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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