Brightest Gamma Ray on Earth

Via ScienceDaily: Researchers create a gamma ray more than a thousand billion times as brilliant as the sun. For reference, a gamma ray is just electromagnetic radiation, like radio waves or visible light or microwaves, but at the high-energy end of the spectrum: high frequency, tiny wavelength. 

Physicists have discovered that ultra-short duration laser pulses can interact with ionised gas to give off beams that are so intense they can pass through 20 cm of lead and would take 1.5 m of concrete to be completely absorbed.

The ray could have several uses, such as in medical imaging, radiotherapy and radioisotope production for PET (positron emission tomography) scanning. The source could also be useful in monitoring the integrity of stored nuclear waste.

In addition, the laser pulses are short enough — lasting a quadrillionth of a second — to capture the response of a nucleus to stimuli, making the rays ideal for use in lab-based study of the nucleus.

Is it just me or does this sound like the sort of thing that someone will figure out how to make a weapon out of? 


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