Author Topic: I need to find a recent article on a special particle accelerator technology  (Read 3193 times)

Offline Stormbringer

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The article was on one of the popular science digests/magazines online. It was several weeks to a little over a month ago.

The article was about a new type of particle accelerator with a foot print of about 1/2 a desktop. It produced relativistic particle beams of electrons.

What was unusual about it was the particle source. It used virtual pair creation and then used a quantum mirror to prevent the virtual pairs from annihilating. the researcher's aim was to use the electrons so the positrons were not retained. 

My reason for wanting to find the article again is for some good ol' Scifi-nal speculations such as:  Obviously with a slight alteration you could create a relativistic positron beam. and I think that if you increased the energy used to "devirtualize" the particles by about 2000 to 4000 times you should be able produce anti-protons with it.

Imagine a just about as good as a bread boxed sized antimatter on demand producing box to duct tape onto the input of a reactor/rocket motor. I think you could at least get enough antimatter to make a hybrid fusion-matter/antimatter reactor since those only require a tiny amount of antimatter.

EDIT:  Also this eliminates most of the problems with antimatter propulsion and power systems since you don't have to store more than needed for the next shot for the reactor or if it's a steady operation scheme then just enough to maintain an adequate flow into the reactor with no storage at all.

So if anyone knows the article i am talking about i would appreciate help finding it again. and of course any ancillary speculative comments are welcome :)
« Last Edit: 10/12/2013 04:26 AM by Stormbringer »
When antigravity is outlawed only outlaws will have antigravity.

Offline MP99

I'm not sure I understand the benefits you're expecting.

This wouldn't be a magic "antimatter out of nothing" machine - you'll need to put in enough energy to create your particle / anti-particle pair. You won't get out more than you put in. See Maxwell's Demon.

The benefit of the machine seems to be a compact way to create an energetic particle stream, but anti-matter is pretty energetic without adding a small additional amount of kinetic energy.

Cheers, Martin

Offline Stormbringer

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the same can be said for any other technology or conveyance. it does not matter. the idea behind antimatter is that it is the most powerful bang you can get. thus it would not matter if you had to put in all the energy in your entire economy in order to get it as long as you had enough to make it useful for propulsion.

even battery powered cars cost more to make than the energy you get out of them. None of the materials and manufacturing costs for any part including the magical electrons from the wall thingy give you more energy than it took to produce it. everything was located, mined, refined, chemically treated, bent, folded, spindled, mutilated, designed and so on and involved the labor and energy of thousands of people and machines to get to your garage.

the point is not can you magically get more energy than was put in or not. the point is how much power can you extract from it  and how quickly. antimatter happens to be the king of packing  a huge amount of bang into a little bitty ultra-compact package.
« Last Edit: 10/12/2013 05:55 PM by Stormbringer »
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Offline Stormbringer

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my previous post was meant to be humorous. the process of course does require energy. but it takes less to do it that way i would thing than using huge relativistic colliders to do it. since the energy input would go to separating virtual pairs and adding just enough energy to keep them from disappearing back into the quantum "aether" again.

 A "few" anti-protons are enough to initiate and maintain fusion in fusion reactors. a slightly larger amount and you have a pure matter antimatter reactor.

it's the amount of energy you can extract on an instantaneous basis that makes antimatter worthwhile. poor analogy follows:  its like putting pennies in a bank account. you can put them in at a slow rate. one or two or three at a time. you cannot even buy a bubble gumball with three pennies. but they are being banked. when you have a considerable amount of money in the bank after a while you can withdraw all of it at once. pennies in at a steady rate can equal a lot of money all at once later. when you withdraw really usable amounts of money from the account it does not matter what rate you put it in at. or if you slung hay bales as a child to earn those pennies. your labor is concentrated into a usable amount of money.  enough money to purchase your goal. enough antimatter to get to a destination.
Do you remember those toy water rockets that consisted of a hand pump and a water rocket? you had to work the pump at least several times and it stored the energy of each stroke as compressed air in the rocket because the pump had a one way valve. you had to pump it dozens of times to get full power to the rocket. when you released the rocket it shot up into the air about 100 feet or so. That was much further that you could lob it with the power of your arm. you put a lot of work into it. you got a sore arm. and the rocket went up an impressive distance. well you put a lot more energy into it than you got out. but when it was released it was released all at once and did more work than you could with a given stroke of your arm. Antimatter is like that. actually all energy use is like that. antimatter is just the ultimate expression of it that we know of so far.
« Last Edit: 10/12/2013 06:38 PM by Stormbringer »
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Offline Yxalag

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This looks like what you are looking for:

http://physicscentral.com/explore/action/tabletop-accelerator.cfm

Petawatt lasers push electrons very near the speed of light.

Offline Yxalag

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And I can see how this might be very useful for catalyzing a fusion reaction in the thrust chamber of a nuclear fusion thermal rocket. A petawatt ought to be enough to intialize a reaction   :D

Offline Stormbringer

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that was it i think though from a different media source. same topic. same research, same people, same equipment; etc. Thank you :)
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Offline cordwainer

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Looks like this link also mentions the wave-break method for electron acceleration that the DOE will be using to accelerate low-energy electrons to high-energy before relativistic acceleration via their "accelerator on a chip" technology. I'm pretty sure this is the method they are planning to use for Skunk Works "active stealth" plasma fields, plasma antennae, weaponizable free-electron laser and other junk.

Offline cordwainer

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Well, if your bread-box positron accelerator were to scale up sufficiently you might have the makings of a on-demand positron annihilation rocket that wouldn't require all the heavy containment for positronium needed in Gerald Smith's design. Cool beans!

Offline cordwainer

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I imagine it would take us one step closer to Winterberg's concept of an electron- positron ambiplasma pinch design. Just need to figure out a way to get the two relativistic beams to safely annihilate each other without blowing the ship up. Smith's design utilizing the annihilation of silicon dioxide might be the easiest and most weight reduced method when combined with your on-demand anti-matter generator. Problem is the secondary brehmstralung effects of all those particle collisions within the generator would have to handled in some way, might limit how long you can run the device and how much you can scale it up. Of course you don't need a lot of positrons to propel your rocket.

Offline Stormbringer

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I imagine it would take us one step closer to Winterberg's concept of an electron- positron ambiplasma pinch design. Just need to figure out a way to get the two relativistic beams to safely annihilate each other without blowing the ship up. Smith's design utilizing the annihilation of silicon dioxide might be the easiest and most weight reduced method when combined with your on-demand anti-matter generator. Problem is the secondary brehmstralung effects of all those particle collisions within the generator would have to handled in some way, might limit how long you can run the device and how much you can scale it up. Of course you don't need a lot of positrons to propel your rocket.

if one of them cannot produce enough then a battery of them might  especially if further miniaturization is possible.

but i was under the impression that positrons aren't too useful for propulsion because the annihilation reaction involved produces no massive or charged particles but only produces gamma rays. to capture any propulsive power from it you would need a tungsten block to absorb the gamma rays and then use that block to heat up a exhaust.
« Last Edit: 12/15/2013 08:36 PM by Stormbringer »
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Offline Carl G

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I don't see what this has to do with this site?

Offline cordwainer

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Uh, Oh we have moderators. Okay, yes I have been making highly speculative comments but the originator of the post himself was speculating on the use of positron beams for propulsion. Yes positrons aren't very good for propulsion unless you use them to annihilate something with a good density, which is why I stated that that Smith's design utilizing positronium and a silicon dioxide abalation plate would probably have the best T/W.

Such an accelerator probably wouldn't produce enough positrons to make an effective drive system, but they might lower the cost of production for positronium. An efficient method for anti-protons would make ACMF or AIM concepts more manageable, I'm not exactly how well positrons would work to catalyze fission reactions although I know they can be used to catalyze fusion.

Offline Stormbringer

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the research in the referenced article makes some form of antimatter hybrid propulsion system more realistic and lest fantastical. the speculation that one might be able to make antimatter on demand and thus eliminate many of the problems associated with antimatter propulsion such as not really having any and storage and storage safety problems.

also the production rates one could reasonably assume with the maturation of the technology used in the research would seem to be enough for some forms of antimatter initiated advanced propulsion schemes such as antimatter initiated fusion, fission and fusion/fission. the reason is the amounts of antimatter in published papers on those propulsion schemes seem to be in the range on could reasonably extrapolate from the information in the article.

Though both ICAN-II and AIMSTAR required antiprotons to work the key is that they required nanograms (in the case of ICAN) there are ways that positrons could be used to heat a exhaust mass despite the problem with the anihilation chain not making any charged particles.

if you want to deny any speculation on antimatter related propulsion in your own realm; fine.

but maybe, just maybe, you are wrong in your evaluation of what is possible. maybe ICAN-II or  AIMSTAR or another antimatter related proposal will prove viable within a decade or so. especially if work like this is not archived and forgotten but juxtaposed and coordinated with other elements necessary for technology maturation as they are published by someone willing to entertain the idea that such a thing is feasible.

I don't see what this has to do with this site?
When antigravity is outlawed only outlaws will have antigravity.

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