Scientists Generate Black Hole Radiation in the Lab

Dec 07, 2009 By Lisa Zyga feature
Illustrations of photoionizing plasma systems. (Left) In a binary system consisting of a black hole and a companion star, X-rays are emitted from the accretion disk. (Right) In the photoionized plasma experiment, a hollow plastic shell is imploded with 12 laser beams, creating a plasma that produces X-rays similar to those near a black hole. Image credit: Hubble European Space Agency.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Due to their violent nature and long distance from Earth, black holes and their surroundings are very difficult to study. Currently, the main method to observe a black hole is to use an X-ray satellite to detect the X-ray fluorescence emitted by a black hole’s companion star as the star’s material falls into the black hole. But now, scientists have developed a laser-driven method to generate a flash of brilliant Planckian X-rays in the lab that can be used to simulate the X-rays that exist near black holes. The new results contrast with the generally accepted explanation for the origins of these astronomical features, and may also help scientists test the complex computer codes used in X-ray astronomy.

The team of researchers, Shinsuke Fujioka, et al., from Osaka University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, have published their study on creating Planckian X-rays in the laboratory in a recent issue of .

In their study, the researchers used a direct laser-driven implosion to create a hot, dense . They aimed 12 intense laser beams (for a total of 3 billion watts, and carrying 4.0 kJ [kilojoules] of energy) onto a micrometer-sized spherical hollow plastic shell. When the shell’s core imploded, its temperature approached 1 keV (kiloelectronvolt), creating a hot plasma. With other adjustments to the set-up, the researchers could produce a slowly expanding, cool plasma, much like the astronomical plasma observed near . In the laboratory-generated plasma, the researchers detected the emitted X-rays and measured their spectra.

They identified two characteristic spectral peaks that closely resemble the spectral peaks observed in the binary systems Cygnus X-3 and Vela X-1. In the model of Cygnus X-3, which consists of a black hole and a companion star, the gravitational energy of the star’s accreting material is converted into thermal energy, which is the origin of the radiation emitted by the accretion disk. The X-ray spectra of Cygnus X-3 was previously observed by an X-ray spectrometer onboard the Chandra X-ray satellite.

“Astronomers use computer simulation codes to interpret their observational data, e.g. x-ray spectra and x-ray images,” Fujioka told PhysOrg.com. “Because matter near a black hole is in extreme conditions (very hot and very massive), which was difficult to be reproduced on the Earth, astronomers could not validate their simulation results with valid experimental data; namely, astronomers were not sure whether their simulation results and their interpretations were correct or not.

“Furthermore, astronomers cannot directly measure temperature, density, and pressure of astronomical objects; there are many unknown parameters to interpret their observations. On the other hand, we can easily measure them in the laboratory. Our experimental technique offers astronomers a test bed to validate their models and simulations by comparing them to the experimental results obtained under well-characterized extreme conditions.”

Although the X-ray spectra obtained in the lab resemble those observed astronomically, their interpretations are very different, and even contradictory. Most significantly, the first spectral peak in the two binary systems is thought to be a forbidden resonance line of helium-like silicon ions. However, as Fujioka explained, these differences could help astronomers test the computer codes used in X-ray astronomy modeling.

“X-ray spectroscopy of photoionized plasma near a black hole is an important tool to study the evolution of a black hole,” Fujioka said. “Astronomers can reproduce their observational data even with incorrect or wrong models owing to adjusting the unknown parameters. If their codes are not valid, characteristics (temperature, density, mass, pressure etc.) of the binary systems may be changed. We hope that our result improves their understanding of the birth, growth, and death of a black hole.”

More information: Shinsuke Fujioka, et al. “X-ray astronomy in the laboratory with a miniature compact object produced by laser-driven implosion.” Nature Physics, Vol. 5, November 2009. Doi:10.1038/NPHYS1402

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All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com.

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StillWind
4 / 5 (9) Dec 07, 2009
This is complete nonsense. The only thing this experiment has in common with a "black hole" is that it produces Planckian x-rays. This is just another example of researchers promoting their process to enable other researchers (notice I didn't say "scientists" to suck up more grant money.
omatumr
3.7 / 5 (9) Dec 07, 2009
You are almost right!

The project is a "black hole" for government funds.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA PI for Apollo

This is complete nonsense. The only thing this experiment has in common with a "black hole" is that it produces Planckian x-rays. This is just another example of researchers promoting their process to enable other researchers (notice I didn't say "scientists" to suck up more grant money.

eurekalogic
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 08, 2009
It is unfortunate because of these lean times that scientists have become snak oil salesmen just to survive. Grant money is not what it used to be. You have to understand they have kids to feed as well so forgive their acts of desperation.
danman5000
not rated yet Dec 08, 2009
@ahshoe090: If you're going to advertise something, at least try to make it legible.
Alexa
4.3 / 5 (3) Dec 08, 2009
It is unfortunate because of these lean times that scientists have become snak oil salesmen just to survive.
Or simplify their life. But there is a synergy of journalists, who are behaving like hypers from obvious reason as well. We shouldn't forget, author of this article is Lisa Zyga, not scientists.

http://inventorsp...isa_zyga
shish4musica
not rated yet Dec 10, 2009
leave it guys, lets sart a new topic so that it would be useful to other guys........


SHISHIR SHETTY
(STUDENT)
vidyunmaya
1 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2009
Known Technoques- Wrong Terminology-Misleads Science.One needs to avoid destructive modes.
Black-hole is a misnomer for Plasma groups
A_Paradox
not rated yet Dec 14, 2009
Near a black hole, previously tenuous gas and particulate solids are compressed to become plasma. In their laboratory the researchers in question here have found a way to compress very small amounts of somewhat similar substances into a plasma.

Sounds rather useful to me. As the writer points out, the pressure, temperature, and so forth of substances in the far reaches of the universe must be inferred or deduced from whatever signals are available. Surely anything which improves the modelling upon which such interpretations are based has got to be relevant and good.
denijane
not rated yet Dec 16, 2009
"...the researchers could produce a slowly expanding, cool plasma, much like the astronomical plasma observed near black holes.

They identified two characteristic spectral peaks that closely resemble the spectral peaks observed in the binary systems Cygnus X-3 and Vela X-1. In the model of Cygnus X-3, which consists of a black hole and a companion star..."

I agree this is nonsense. What they observed is how plasma behaves in certain conditions. I don't see where exactly is the connection with a black hole - the black hole requires event horizon, something we don't see in this simulation.

And what this study actually shows is that we can repeat the spectra of suspected BH emission (part of it actually) without the BH itself, which poses the question, do we need a BH at all.

Interesting study, but I don't see the connection with black hole. And when I think the author of the article should be very careful when using "is a BH" - because we only think it is, we are not sure.
billypilgrim
not rated yet Jan 19, 2010
From: billypilgrim2008@hotmail.com
To: kurakin.pavil@gmail.com
Subject: hidden (time)=motion.true interpatation HIDDEN MOTION
Date:Tue,19 Jan 2010 17:52:54 -0800 DARK MATTER IS hidden time & the uncertainty principle is incorrect (sometimes) depending on the observer, I've more equations involving the matter at issue but no one is going to believe me except maybe the people keeping me & my possessions prisoner here in the united states, no 1 has the right 2 hold back a giant leap that could in all essence help the planet solve the gigantic DNA puzzle that is being put together by people everywhere on a hidden sub conscious level. ONLY THOSE WHO TRULY UNDERSTAND THE REAL REASON OF LIFE KNOW THIS, BUT again I'm a prisoner here because of stupid egos, & stupid military idiot forces & the morons behind it all, no 1 has the right 2 interfere in a good & final evolution of advanced minds that can bring the world to it's final restored place, Holographic Universe,
& magnetics R simular.
danman5000
not rated yet Jan 20, 2010
billypilgrim, I'm not really sure what the purpose of your comment is, but if you want people to take you seriously I'd recommend not using teenage text message shortcuts. I did get a good laugh out of "stupid military idiot forces" though.