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VIDEO: Caught in the headlights

A powerful light source probes the universe's darkest secrets

July 17, 2015

 

Accelerators like the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) II fire particles around a circular tunnel to nearly the speed of light. But as electrons curve around the ring, they lose energy in the form of light. Rather than think of this as a defect, researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory found a way to harness this excess light and use it to understand the world at its most fundamental level. This basic research, however, can lead to remarkable and practical results. Considering the original NSLS at Brookhaven helped win two Nobel prizes, create better HIV treatments and rethink the battery, this increase in performance will likely open the door to groundbreaking new discoveries.

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About the Author

Jennifer Hackett is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, where she studied physics and history. She’s always been fascinated by science but writing and communication have been her specialty; working as a science journalist enables her to pursue her passion while utilizing her skills. She particularly enjoys writing about the intersection between science and politics, and enjoys any excuse to bring up nuclear topics or the Manhattan Project. When not writing about things like space probes or weird particles, she enjoys sewing, video games, and anything involving atomic culture.

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