In a demonstration of E=mc2, a newly proposed collider will reportedly turn light into matter in the purest way yet
The collider will smash two high-energy photons - the massless particles of light - into each other to transform them into two particles with mass.
This isn’t the first time this technique, known as Breit-Wheeler pair production, has been used, but in the past researchers creating matter from light had to introduce particles with mass into the process.
But now scientist from the Imperial College London believe it’s possible to create a collider that only includes photons.
This “photon-photon” collider is described in Nature photonics, and works by firing high-energy photons into a field of photons emitted as blackbody radiation, Jacob Kastrenakes explains over at The Verge.
When those photons collide, the scientists believe many of them will turn into matter - or more specifically an electron and a positron.
It’s a perfect demonstration of Einstein’s E=mc2. The whole reaction is driven by energy from electrons, but in the newly proposed collider, they’re kept separate from the photons using a vacuum, so the process remains pure.
Even better, the researchers believe the new collider will be fairly simple to create from existing technology and they’re now drawing up plans to demonstrate the feat within the next 12 months,The Guardian reports.