|Star Trek replicator. Got SketchUp? Get the model here!|
One flow goes something like this:
computer-controlled manufacturing > 3D printing > accelerator driven transmutation technology (ADTT) > replicatorsOf course, somewhere between existing ADTT systems and replicators we'd need major breakthroughs in power production and manipulating atomic and subatomic particles in the midst of energy-to-matter conversion to actually use this process for manufacturing or "replicating" anything. Additionally, current particle accelerators constitute expensive and very massive complexes scientists live and work amongst to conduct experimental research rather than practical tools we can use everyday in our homes or places of work.
But what if a particle accelerator could sit on your desktop? While still far off, we're possibly one step closer, as SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory researchers announced their "accelerator on a chip." According to their press release (found here) they claim...
In an advance that could dramatically shrink particle accelerators for science and medicine, researchers used a laser to accelerate electrons at a rate 10 times higher than conventional technology in a nanostructured glass chip smaller than a grain of rice.They also claim...
At its full potential, the new “accelerator on a chip” could match the accelerating power of SLAC’s 2-mile-long linear accelerator in just 100 feet, and deliver a million more electron pulses per second.
|SLAC's current 2 mile long accelerator.|
Is this a step toward a replicator that will make me a cup of Earl Grey in the future? Do you have a more realistic roadmap you'd like to share? Contact us.
For those out there not interested or even aware of particle accelerators and their role in experimental physics, the proposed applications of SLAC's new "accelerator on a chip" might help raise public interest and support for further research and development of smaller, cheaper, and more accessible systems.
For the rest of us, no matter how far off a replicator might be, an "accelerator on a chip" is an alluring headline backed with interesting, groundbreaking research. Follow SLAC on Twitter @SLAClab and visit their website here.