Record-high magnetic fields in the lab, almost a Gigagauss in magnitude, have been achieved by aiming intense laser light at a dense plasma, expanding the possibilities for laboratory re-creations of astrophysical events.
At last weeks APS Division of Plasma Physics Meeting in Orlando, researchers from Imperial College, London, and the Rutherford Appleton Lab in the UK announced evidence of super-strong magnetic fields that are hundreds of times more intense than any previous magnetic field created in an Earth laboratory and up to a billion times stronger than our planets natural magnetic field. Such intense magnetic fields may soon enable researchers to recreate extreme astrophysical conditions, such as the atmospheres of neutron stars and white dwarfs, in their very own laboratories.
At the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the UK, researchers at the VULCAN facility aimed intense laser pulses, lasting only picoseconds (trillionths of a second), at a dense plasma. The resulting magnetic fields in the plasma were on the order of 400 Megagauss.
Phil Schewe | Physics news update 614
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