What questions will it answer; what opportunities will it offer?
History doesnt record the moment when fully conscious humans asked the first question. The incessant push of human curiosity has nevertheless changed the world. Even so, despite the seemingly inexorable march of science and technology into the current century, questions dont seem in short supply. Gwyn Williams, basic research program manager for Jefferson Labs Free-Electron Laser (FEL), suspects some important answers may be forthcoming as a result of the FEL upgrade currently underway.
"The FEL is such a powerful light source that it induces completely new phenomena in materials," Williams says. "All kinds of unexpected properties emerge. Creating carbon nanotubes [for electronics and super-strong structures] comes as a result of exciting graphite, for instance. This upgrade gives us a window with a whole new view. Were beginning to truly understand how the world works at the level of a single atom."
Linda Ware | EurekAlert!
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