TechnologyThe Pentagon Is Giving Up on Particle Beam Weapons
Scientists Are Trying To Shrink Particle Accelerators
Using plasma, a team at Berkeley wants to make these historically large machines much smaller. Particle accelerators play a fundamental role in everything from nuclear physics to modern medicine. A team in California is working on a way to shrink the massive devices.Particle accelerators rely on electromagnets to create electric fields. The team has built a model using the far smaller plasma waves.Their recent test was a success, but the next step is to try and generate even more power.Particle accelerators are crucial to understanding modern science.
- The DoD, which showed interest in , now anytime soon.
- Particle beams work by using atomic and subatomic particles to "melt" their target.
- The Pentagon wanted to use neutral particle beams to shoot down incoming ballistic missiles during takeoff phase.
The Department of Defense is pushing hard into directed energy technologies, particularly lasers, but there’s one weapon that won’t be deployed in the field anytime soon: neutral particle beams (NPBs). Just over a year after announcing a renewed interest into the tech the Pentagon has decided to shelve research into NPBs, stating that they were “not near term enough.” Translation: even with military funding the services wouldn’t see a particle beam weapon soon enough to make worthwhile.
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According to, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin recently told a gathering of defense reporters, “We are deferring work on neutral particle beams, indefinitely. It’s just not near-term enough.” Griffin emphasized however that the Pentagon was still forging ahead with research into lasers and microwave weapons, for use by ground forces, air forces, and in space.
Griffin first brought up possible deployment of particle beams in March 2018, and in March 2019 announced it was aiming f. The Pentagon apparently wants to use it to destroy enemy ballistic missiles shortly after takeoff, when they are most vulnerable, and before multiple nuclear warheads can separate from the launch booster.
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are basically “death rays” from science fiction. NPBs involve accelerating streams of atomic or subatomic particles to nearly light speed and shooting them downrange at a target. Once the particles collide with the target, they began to unravel it at the atomic and molecular level, breaking the bonds that create its shape. At a visual level, it would appear that the target is melting. The kinetic energy transferred from the particles to the target also heats it up, contributing to the melting of the target material.
Neutral particle beams have technological and engineering challenges similar to those of other directed energy weapons. NPBs require lots of energy, a mechanism to accelerate and focus the particles or subatomic particles, and another mechanism for aiming them. The Department of Defense, which has seen Russian and Chinese advances in other high tech categories including lasers, rail guns, and hypersonic weapons, needs to push tech out into the field soon and apparently thinks investing in NPBs now won’t get them anywhere anytime soon.
Elemental particles: major meeting in Chicago
Theorists and experimenters confronted their latest results to interpret the "bump" of 750 GeV energy measured at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), last December.
This Friday, August 5th, the 38th, which opened its doors last Wednesday in Chicago (United States), is in the thick of things. The researchers presented the latest results from the two major experiments conducted at , Atlas and CMS, since the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) shifted into high gear.
For the past year, the LHC's proton beams have been propelled against record levels of energy that had never been reached before (13 TeV vs. 8 TeV between 2010 and 2012) by no other particle accelerator in the world.The Higgs boson was announced
These energy levels should allow to detect particles of "new physics" which will complete those called "Standard model" and which have all been discovered, including the last, the "famous" boson of Higgs observed in 2012 at Cern and predicted by theory since 1964.
"We now know the mass of the Higgs boson which is 125 Gev. But we knew in which range of energy it was necessary to look for it and, in 2012, only the domain between 120 and 130 Gev remained possible. For the "new physics", the models that have flourished since the 1970s, like that of supersymmetry, are very little predictive of the mass of these new particles, "explains Patrice Verdier, deputy scientific director of particles and radiation. hadronic at IN2P3 () at the CNRS.
One of these new theories could unify all the great forces of physics and propose a new representation of the world and the cosmos.
For the last year, with the modernization of the LHC, a terra incognita has opened up: the probability of discovering new heavier particles increases because the proton beams are accelerated to higher energies. Nevertheless, after each result, theorists hope that they will discover new particles that will have considerable repercussions.
Last December, the two LHC experiments each measured an "energy hump" at 750 GeV. Since these observations, the community is in turmoil. The question is whether this corresponds to the two-photon decay of a new particle or a set of particles, or if this measurement is just a statistical fluctuation. Since the beginning of 2016, more than 400 scientific papers have been published in reference journals to indicate that there were new particles or that the excess at 750 GeV was simply a statistical artefact.
At CERN, this second option is the one that holds the rope among the community of some 4000 physicists and PhD students who work there. Nevertheless, theorists of the, "among the hundreds of articles published on the subject, deduce an alternative theory where one would not have a new particle, but a whole" gagged ". They try to describe a new family of particles, "explains Nathalie Besson, particle physicist at Irfu ( ) at the CEA. But there is nothing to say that one or the other is right or wrong.
The researchers worked from Cern's 2015 results which were very meager. "In three months, since the beginning of 2016, the LHC experiments have produced 6 times more data than on the whole of 2015," adds Patrice Verdier. Thus, the statistical uncertainties on the measures were divided by nearly 2.5. But this is only the beginning. Less than 10% of all collisions planned by 2023 for the new LHC energy level have been completed.
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