Imagine a laser so powerful it could rip a hole in the vacuum of space. This sounds like something out of science fiction, but it’s actually quite real. Scientists are proposing a laser that wields 100,000 times the power of electricity produced throughout the entire world. The beam lasts about one trillionth of a second, and scientists believe it will be capable of tearing a hole in the vacuum of space long enough to allow them to detect ghost particles.
Ghost particles are subatomic particles that jump in and out of existence. We know they’re there, but we’ve never actually seen them. This is because they fight with one another and eat each other before any of our tools can measure them. This laser, by focusing energy so intense it would dwarf that of even the center of the Sun, would theoretically rip a hole in the vacuum of space that would separate these ghost particles long enough for us to measure them.
This laser might even do more than just that. It could, again in theory, help us to determine whether or not there actually are other dimensions of existence outside of our own. Science fiction has long been host to the concept of interdimensional travel, and tools like this could help us to understand if there is some truth to the idea.
How Does It Work?
The ELI Ultra-High Field laser will be comprised of ten beams, each much more powerful than any current laser on Earth, which would focus into a single point smaller than the head of a pin. This focal point would receive an electrical impulse so strong that it would cause particles to separate and rip through the very fabric of space.
Space has long been considered to be a vacuum devoid of any particles — an emptiness, if you will. In recent years, scientists have theorized and for the most part discovered that we’re actually bathed in subatomic particles left over from the Big Bang called neutrinos. These particles are so small and believed to be so prevalent that they exist everywhere and anywhere there is space. The problem is that these particles only exist for a very, very brief moment in time before being clobbered by other similar particles. In order to see them, we have to separate them. This laser would make it possible.
The cost to build the laser is roughly one billion euros. That’s a lot of scratch, but imagine what it could help us understand about our place in space and time. It’s still unclear where the laser will be located, though construction is expected to be complete by the end of the decade.
I, for one, hope this laser doesn’t make the events of Half-Life come true. Fighting head crabs and Combine forces isn’t exactly how I want to spend my forties.
What about you? Do you think this laser is a good idea? Could there really be other dimensions of existence aside from our own?