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Experiment to Transform Light into Matter Designed

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 02:04PM

For untold centuries, it was taken as fact that energy and matter are two separate existences in the Universe. About a hundred years ago though, theories indicating that matter and energy are two sides of the same coin, and thus one can be converted into the other, were developed. About 80 years ago, some physicists suggested one example of energy being converted to matter, and now researchers at the Imperial College London believe they have determined how to accomplish this.

The Breit-Wheeler theory predicts that by smashing photons together, it should be possible to create an electron-positron pair. While the theory was sound and recognized as the simplest means of turning light into matter, even the physicists doubted that it would ever be achieve. The London researchers however have found a way that should work, which takes advantage of high energy physics, like that used in fusion research. The experiment they propose will involve firing a very high energy beam of electrons at a gold slab, to create one beam of photons, and firing a laser into a hohlraum, which is a small gold can. This laser will cause the hohlruam to create a thermal radiation field, and when the beam from the gold slab enters it, photons should collide to produce the electron-positron pair.

As the London researchers are theorists, this experiment has not been attempted yet and may actually become a competition amongst other teams. Once achieved though, this will represent the final piece of the puzzle of how light and matter can interact.

Source: Imperial College London

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