Jefferson Lab laser twinkles in rare color

Dec 21, 2010

December is a time for twinkling lights, and scientists at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility are delivering. They've just produced a long-sought, rare color of laser light 100 times brighter than that generated anywhere else.

The light was produced by Jefferson Lab's Free-Electron Laser facility. The laser delivered in the form of 10 eV photons (a wavelength of 124 nanometers). This color of light is called vacuum ultraviolet because it is absorbed by molecules in the air, requiring its use in a vacuum.

"We have succeeded in delivering 10 eV photons for the first time," says George Neil, Jefferson Lab associate director for the FEL Division. "Using a hole out-coupling mirror on the Jefferson Lab Ultraviolet Demonstration FEL, we delivered vacuum ultraviolet harmonic light to a calibrated VUV and measured five nanojoules of fully in each micropulse."

The feat opens the door to many lines of research that were previously inaccessible.

For instance, the FEL may soon enable a method of determining the age of materials that far outstrips carbon dating. Radio-carbon dating allows scientists to estimate the age of some materials up to roughly 62,000 years. But radio-krypton dating could potentially allow scientists to determine the age of materials between 100,000 to 1 million years. The 10 eV light from the FEL would be used to produce so-called metastable krypton atoms for use in this dating method. The method can contribute to ocean circulation models and maps of groundwater movement, as well as dating polar ice.

"This new laser is also a perfect tool to study with great potential for addressing issues such as energy and the environment," said Gwyn Williams, FEL basic research program manager.

"We still have a lot of work ahead of us before experiments can begin," Williams said. "In the new year, we'll be working to deliver light into a lab for measurement and future experiments. We hope to accomplish those goals by March."

Explore further: Engineers make sound loud enough to bend light on a computer chip

Provided by Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

4.7 /5 (13 votes)

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User comments : 6

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Raveon
5 / 5 (4) Dec 21, 2010
Allow me to interpret for the devout. It will allow much more accurate dating within the 10,000 year lifespan of the earth, almost to the year.
that_guy
not rated yet Dec 21, 2010
Allow me to interpret for the devout. It will allow much more accurate dating within the 10,000 year lifespan of the earth, almost to the year.

5 stars for you. but this site does seem to be the wrong place for evangelicals to hang out.
ormondotvos
5 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2010
Oh, we're here. Pastafaria exists!
MorituriMax
1 / 5 (1) Dec 21, 2010
Raveon, oh wow, LOL man... LOL. Good Lord that was funny.
suntraider
not rated yet Dec 22, 2010
First came quest for fire accidently(with a means for expressing change in cave), then fire by combustion by wick(with a means for analysis for relativity), then changing the dielectric within a vacuum (resistance), then average gas kinetic energy illuminating, then precisely controlling electrons (LED, LCD) illuminating, then creating electron processes that when integrated create instruments that can analyse positrons, then creating positron processes that when integrated (with electron processes) create scaled controlled collisions of light instruments back to the quest for fire.
KBK
1 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2011
This is all quite interesting, as it comes in as occurring after the 'reveal' (of sorts) that there is some issue with carbon dating. A 'theoretical foundings in complete turmoil' kind of threat. An issue of something happening concerning connection to the sun. Some emission or connection of sorts that seems to cause variance in carbon dating.

Interesting that this new method that could somehow remove carbon dating from the center stage in this area of use and research... comes from a Now PTB Connected research facility that has the kind of connections for freedom and liberty that would have Jefferson turning in his grave.

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