World’s brightest laser illuminates new change in light

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World’s brightest laser

Scientists from the University of Nebraska have developed a world’s brightest laser light, illuminates 1 billion times brighter than surface of the Sun. In a new laser light, the physicists observed changes in a vision-enabling interaction between light and matter.

The discovery potentially opens new possibilities to generate extremely high-resolution imagery useful for medical, engineering, scientific and security purposes.

When lighting from a bulb or the sun strikes a surface, that scattering phenomenon makes vision possible. But, in an electron the negatively charged particle normally scatters just one photon of light at a time.

In previous laser-based experiments had scattered a few photons from the same electron. In new experiment, laser scatter nearly 1,000 photons at a time. At the ultra-high intensities produced by the laser, both the photons and electron behaved much differently than usual.

“When we observe this unimaginably bright light, it turns out that the scattering this fundamental thing that makes everything visible fundamentally changes in nature,” said, senior author Donald Umstadter.

Normally an object becomes brighter, but it looks like with the lower light level. Here, the light is changing object’s appearance. The light’s coming off at different angles, with different colors, depending on brightness.

photons

The intense brightness of the laser quickly delivers a huge amount of photons into an electron. This supercharged electron begins moving in a figure eight until it releases all the extra energy into a single X-ray photon.

This step could be crucial for future applications of this phenomenon. Already, high-energy X-ray lasers used worldwide at complex chemical reactions. Means, this process could produce photons that changes inside an atom’s nuclei directly.

The system also used to test several specific theories related to lasers. So far, those couldn’t be tested due to the limitations of the lasers themselves, but it appears that the new system is more than capable of handling the tests.

“There were many theories, for many years that had never been tested in the lab because we never had a bright-enough light source to actually do the experiment,” Umstadter said.

More information: [nature photonics]

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