Allen Mills, UC Riverside Department of Physics and Astronomy
Science & Technology

Breakthrough in Development of Gamma-Ray Lasers – Useful in Medicine and Spacecraft Propulsion

Allen Mills is a professor in the College of California Riverside Division of Physics and Astronomy. Credit score: I. Pittalwala, UC Riverside

A physicist on the College of California, Riverside, has carried out calculations displaying hole spherical bubbles full of a gasoline of positronium atoms are secure in liquid helium. 

The calculations take scientists a step nearer to realizing a gamma-ray laser, which can have functions in medical imaging, spacecraft propulsion, and most cancers remedy.

Extraordinarily short-lived and solely briefly secure, positronium is a hydrogen-like atom and a combination of matter and antimatter — particularly, sure states of electrons and their antiparticles referred to as positrons. To create a gamma-ray laser beam, positronium must be in a state referred to as a Bose-Einstein condensate — a set of positronium atoms in the identical quantum state, permitting for extra interactions and gamma radiation. Such a condensate is the important thing ingredient of a gamma-ray laser. 

“My calculations present {that a} bubble in liquid helium containing one million atoms of positronium would have a quantity density six occasions that of abnormal air and would exist as a matter-antimatter Bose-Einstein condensate,” stated Allen Mills, a professor in the Division of Physics and Astronomy and sole creator of the study that was revealed December 6, 2019, in the journal Bodily Overview A.

Helium, the second-most considerable factor in the universe, exists in liquid type solely at extraordinarily low temperatures. Mills defined helium has a unfavourable affinity for positronium; bubbles type in liquid helium as a result of helium repels positronium. Positronium’s lengthy lifetime in liquid helium was first reported in 1957.

When an electron meets a positron, their mutual annihilation may very well be one end result, accompanied by the manufacturing of a robust and energetic kind of electromagnetic radiation referred to as gamma radiation. A second end result is the formation of positronium. 

Mills, who directs the Positron Laboratory at UC Riverside, stated the lab is configuring an antimatter beam in a quest to provide the unique bubbles in liquid helium that Mills’ calculations predict. Such bubbles might function a supply of positronium Bose-Einstein condensates.

“Close to time period outcomes of our experiments may very well be the remark of positronium tunneling by means of a graphene sheet, which is impervious to all abnormal matter atoms, together with helium, in addition to the formation of a positronium atom laser beam with doable quantum computing functions,” Mills stated.

Reference: “Positronium Bose-Einstein condensation in liquid 4He bubbles” by A. P. Mills, Jr., 6 December 2019, Bodily Overview A.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.100.063615

The analysis was supported by the Nationwide Science Basis.

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