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Plasmas Show Promise As Next Step For Accelerators

Date: November 23, 1992 Even as the superconducting supercollider survives another funding battle and lurches toward completion, some physicists are already wondering what comes next. The power of SSC collisions will fall far short of re-creating the state of matter at the instant the universe was born--an eventual goal of particle physicists. In order to give high- energy colleagues a new generation of tools to continue probing the mysteries of matter, a few plasma physicists are working on

Tom Abate

Date: November 23, 1992

Even as the superconducting supercollider survives another funding battle and lurches toward completion, some physicists are already wondering what comes next.

The power of SSC collisions will fall far short of re-creating the state of matter at the instant the universe was born--an eventual goal of particle physicists. In order to give high- energy colleagues a new generation of tools to continue probing the mysteries of matter, a few plasma physicists are working on a revolutionary type of particle accelerator that uses the new, powerful, ultra-fast pulse lasers to achieve particle acceleration. This new technology has potential applications in the life sciences, as well.

The funding for developing alternative particle accelerators is not especially abundant, with the De- partment of Energy devoting about $5 million a year to the effort, but the possible first demonstration of laser particle acceleration made in a University of California, Los...

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