NOV 06, 2020 6:00 AM PST

The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Located inside the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Z Pulsed Power Facility (or Z Machine) is the most powerful X-ray source constructed by humans.

Since the end of world war two, Department of Energy (DOE) scientists have been using this monstrous instrument to experiment with plasma confinement for the development of thermonuclear weapons. 

The operation of the Z machine relies on the zeta-pinch principle: an electrical current runs through a plasma-containing cylinder on its Z-axis, generating an intense electromagnetic field that compresses the plasma towards its center. The sudden and transient "pinch" of plasma allows researchers to achieve ultra high energy densities and high-intensity X-rays. 

After its refurbishment in 1996, the Z machine has been used primarily to support fusion-related research, on top of advancing our knowledge in material science, renewable energy, and cosmology.

Source: Seeker via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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