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cosmosgalactichero t1_j1yt5bd wrote

Explain this using little words and short sentences.


Vailhem OP t1_j1yvcm2 wrote

Even better, link has picture! Those things are worth a thousand words..


cosmosgalactichero t1_j1yysde wrote

Still don't understand what's going on. Why is this important?


Vailhem OP t1_j1z0rf8 wrote

'Important' is relative.. and applications follow the breakthroughs.

Maybe best just to say it's a 'cool' breakthrough expansion in laser physics.


thruster_fuel69 t1_j1zatq8 wrote

So you don't know, then?


Vailhem OP t1_j1zn2lp wrote

They're using lasers to increase the density of the material they're beaming it into until it becomes so dense that it heats up to the point of becoming a plasma and shaping that plasma in such a way that it becomes mirror-like for electrons.

It's fascinating.

Per the application, the article nor paper state application and to speculate would simply be one application of what could evolve into an 'infinite' amount.

There's really know way to know the answer to such a broad and, ultimately, loaded question.. and, as such, it's possibly better simply to see it as yet-another breakthrough in both the understanding & abilities of laser physics.. of which 'countless' applications are seemingly being discovered as laser physics continues to evolve.


VincentNacon t1_j208peq wrote

So you still have no idea what this could be used for?


Vailhem OP t1_j20hqui wrote

Obviously I do. I read the article. An application is built right into an ELI5 idiots guide breakdown via the following quote from the very first paragraph:

> i.e. with a laser field so strong that hurls the plasma electrons back and forth at nearly the speed of light.

'Reflecting' plasma electrons back & forth .. and applications that could benefit from that.

An example could be fusion, though I certainly wouldn't limit its applications to that nor know if it would be beneficial for that.. ..given I nor others have had enough time to think it over per application(s) (given) that it's a recently published breakthrough/discovery in the field of laser physics.

Any more pedantically trivial snideness you'd like to ask while I still have the patience remaining to entertain responding to them?


Brohemoth_Slayer t1_j20s4iz wrote

You kind of just got trolled by 3 different people, but thanks for the explanation!


cosmosgalactichero t1_j2393m4 wrote

I really wasn't trying to troll. I just didn't understand the article or why/how it could be significant. In excited that it could bring fusion energy closer to reality.


Brohemoth_Slayer t1_j23ssln wrote

If you read back to here from the first comment, it's kind of funny though..


Vailhem OP t1_j21907f wrote

I've been picking up some (more?) haters of late.. it happens.

like fleas, they're an itch that'll get scratched soon enough. 😅


cosmosgalactichero t1_j2396x7 wrote

Thank you for taking the time to explain the article. Not all of us understand science at this level. I still find it fascinating.


PeakFuckingValue t1_j20ihdc wrote

While I understand the applications are limitless, the general usefulness of stuff is pretty obvious. For example, energy and fusion was a great answer. That might be one of the most important ones. Obvious other ones would be transportation, defense, communication, computing, pharma, manufacturing, culture, politics...

I'm less interested in how it can be applied to every industry, but since I'm jumping in on a "conversation" I guess what's most relevant is what makes you excited about this. That's definitely not clear to me yet.


Vailhem OP t1_j219c8z wrote

> I guess what's most relevant is what makes you excited about this. That's definitely not clear to me yet.

You touched on it with one of your areas, but fusion isn't (more-immediately) one of them.

Let's just chok it up to my thinking it's really neat! ;)


beef-o-lipso t1_j1yzjz6 wrote

So this appears to be a laser amplifier of some sort? If not, what?

So then, what uses are there?


Ok-Feeling1462 t1_j1z04dx wrote

Well warfare springs to mind, instead of a laser that delivers a smaller amount of energy over a longer duration you have a laser that dumps all its energy in a fraction of the time.

Could take down targets before they're aware they've been shot at?


beef-o-lipso t1_j1z0amb wrote

So it is an amplifier? The article does really say.


Psychotic_Pedagogue t1_j21ocyn wrote

The oversimplified version would be that they're exploiting time dilation to store light from a laser and release it across a shorter interval, like charging and discharging a battery or capacitor.

Made up numbers for illustration - the laser pulses they're actually talking about take place in quadrillionths of a second.

Take a laser and fire it at a mirror for 2 seconds. Normally, the reflection from that surface would last as long as the laser is firing - for the whole 2 seconds. The reflection will always be weaker than the laser because basic physics, can't have more than 100% efficiency.

The mirror in the article though is a wall of plasma that moves so quickly that it's subject to noticeable time dilation. Now, instead of the reflection lasting the 2 seconds of our laser pulse, it's being 'compressed' by time dilation into 1 second.

As long as the compression factor is greater than the fraction of the energy lost to the mirror and refocussing the reflection, this is effectively an increase in peak output power but at the cost of reduced overall output power (as your output power for part of the pulse is nil, and you have additional losses).


otter111a t1_j1z4ta0 wrote

You ever been to a Pink Floyd laser light show? Imagine that but instead of physical mirrors they use relativistic ion plasma mirrors. Way way cooler


Known-nwonK t1_j20cqnc wrote

Tl;dr scientist move matter near the speed of light


VincentNacon t1_j208hua wrote

This stuff went right over my head and still have no clue what this could be used for.


PZonB t1_j1ytrfb wrote

"When an intense laser pulse ionizes the surface of a solid target, it creates plasma so dense that it is impenetrable to the laser, even if the target was initially transparent. The laser now gets reflected off this “plasma mirror.”" ...makes you wonder if this can help nuclear fusion plants. They also work with plasma and lasers ? 🤷‍♀️ ?