Gamma-ray laser moves a step closer to reality: Calculations by UC Riverside's Allen Mills predict metastable positronium bubbles in liquid helium -- ScienceDaily
Science News from research organizationsGamma-ray laser moves a step closer to reality. Calculations by UC Riverside's Allen Mills predict metastable positronium bubbles in liquid helium. Date: December 6, 2019 Source: University of California - Riverside Summary: A physicist has performed calculations showing hollow spherical bubbles filled with a gas of positronium atoms are stable in liquid helium. The calculations take scientists a step closer to realizing a gamma-ray laser. Share:FULL STORY A physicist at the University of California, Riverside, has performed calculations showing hollow spherical bubbles filled with a gas of positronium atoms are stable in liquid helium.advertisement The calculations take scientists a step closer to realizing a gamma-ray laser, which may have applications in medical imaging, spacecraft propulsion, and cancer treatment. Extremely short-lived and only briefly stable, positronium is a hydrogen-like atom and a mixture of matter and antimatter -- specifically, bound states of electrons and their antiparticles called positrons. To create a gamma-ray laser beam, positronium needs to be in a state called a Bose-Einstein condensate -- a collection of positronium atoms in the same quantum state, allowing for more interactions and gamma radiation. Such a condensate is the key ingredient of a gamma-ray laser. "My calculations show that a bubble in liquid helium containing a million atoms of positronium would have a number density six times that of ordinary air and would exist as a matter-antimatter Bose-Einstein condensate," said Allen Mills, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and sole author of the study that appears today in Physical Review A. Helium, the second-most abundant element in the universe, exists in liquid form only at extremely low temperatures. Mills explained helium has a negative affinity for positronium; bubbles form in liquid helium because helium repels positronium. Positronium's long lifetime in liquid helium was first reported in 1957. When an electron meets a positron, their mutual annihilation could be one outcome, accompanied by the production of a powerful and energetic type of electromagnetic radiation called gamma radiation. A second outcome is the formation of positronium. Mills, who directs the Positron Laboratory at UC Riverside, said the lab is configuring an antimatter beam in a quest to produce the exotic bubbles in liquid helium that Mills' calculations predict. Such bubbles could serve as a source of positronium Bose-Einstein condensates. "Near term results of our experiments could be the observation of positronium tunneling through a graphene sheet, which is impervious to all ordinary matter atoms, including helium, as well as the formation of a positronium atom laser beam with possible quantum computing applications," Mills said. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation. make a difference: sponsored opportunity Story Source: Materials provided by University of California - Riverside. Original written by Iqbal Pittalwala. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Journal Reference: A. P. Mills. Positronium Bose-Einstein condensation in liquid He4 bubbles. Physical Review A, 2019; 100 (6) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.100.063615 . Cite This Page:MLA. APA. Chicago.University of California - Riverside. "Gamma-ray laser moves a step closer to reality: Calculations by UC Riverside's Allen Mills predict metastable positronium bubbles in liquid helium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2019. . University of California - Riverside. (2019, December 6). Gamma-ray laser moves a step closer to reality: Calculations by UC Riverside's Allen Mills predict metastable positronium bubbles in liquid helium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 7, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191206152937.htm University of California - Riverside. "Gamma-ray laser moves a step closer to reality: Calculations by UC Riverside's Allen Mills predict metastable positronium bubbles in liquid helium." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191206152937.htm (accessed December 7, 2019). RELATED TOPICSMatter & EnergyPhysics . Nature of Water . Quantum Physics . Graphene . Computers & MathQuantum Computers . Computer Science . Math Puzzles . Information Technology . advertisement RELATED TERMSSoap bubble . Computer . Xenon . Boiling point . Trigonometry . Computing . 3D computer graphics . Noble gas . 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