Gamma Ray Laser, possible? Superior Weapon?

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  • #26
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"Whom do you wish to kill with this hypothetical weapon, and why?"

Now that would be telling! I would like to see a decent system in place to destroy nuclear missiles in the boost phase though, haha.

Does anyone have any idea/reference of how powerful a gamma ray laser beam would be? What would be the destructive power?

Would it burn a whole through a person? How fast would it burn through steel? I know basics found on a laser drilling website using latent heats of the different states but I can't find any decent physics to quote.

Very interesting comment about the mirror problem. But the same applies. What properties would the mirror need to be protected against the beam?

Also the range of the beam... Several factors effect this in current lasers. I know the Airborune Laser Testbed is being scrapped due to its inefficient range meaning that a Boeing 747 would have to be airborne behind enemy lines to be effective.

(reference for laser cutting rates http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~yarin/laser/physics.html)

Read Feynman's last lecture in Vol 1. Also find what Feynman had to say, in retrospect regarding the use of the atomic bomb, which he helped develop.
 
  • #27
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Forgive me if you find material on this after one search term in google, but I sure can't.

Nice try, foreign spy.

There's a reason this information is not online.
 
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  • #28
Ryan_m_b
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The military uses of a gamma ray laser are probably far more horrific than specific. Given enough power and spread you could, in theory, inflict radiation sickness, higher probability of cancer and congenital diseases in offspring by pointing it at a populated area.

Then again if mass civilian causalities were your goal (and the state of war seems to be trending away from this) you could do better with gas, carpet bombing or even nuclear weapons.
 
  • #29
ZapperZ
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This is turning to not be a discussion on physics.

Unless there is an effort to bring this back to having actual physics content, this thread is done. All subsequent, non-physics post after this will be deleted.

Zz.
 
  • #30
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This is turning to not be a discussion on physics.

Unless there is an effort to bring this back to having actual physics content, this thread is done. All subsequent, non-physics post after this will be deleted.

Zz.

Medical physics - Absorption rates of gamma rays. How would this be worked out? I'm guessing there is an absorption cross section. Also the area and flux is relevant.

Also, a question about the laser. When the light is coherent and in the same direction. Why is it that the waves don't superimpose each other? Or is it the fact that this does happen, but it is quite rare for a complete overlap so it is unnoticeable?

Sorry if I have a major flaw in my understanding but I am no laser expert =)!
 
  • #31
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Nice try, foreign spy.

There's a reason this information is not online.

It is online. Found lots of information regarding current technologies leading in this field such as the free electron laser, the solid state and the chemical oxygen iodine laser. Specifics are more hidden though, usually behind subscription services - bypassed by academia log ins.
 
  • #32
sophiecentaur
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Back to Physics, Chaps!
Also, a question about the laser. When the light is coherent and in the same direction. Why is it that the waves don't superimpose each other? Or is it the fact that this does happen, but it is quite rare for a complete overlap so it is unnoticeable?

For coherent (laser) light, that's just what the waves from each emitting atom do. They are all in step because their emission has been stimulated by the wave that's already set up in the laser.

It always makes me smile because the output from a humble radio transmitter, transmitting a CW signal (continuous tone) is exactly the same and no one was ever overawed by the idea of the outputs from lots of vibrating charges (at a few MHz) being in phase for hours on end. But when it's light, they're astounded.
 
  • #33
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For coherent (laser) light, that's just what the waves from each emitting atom do. They are all in step because their emission has been stimulated by the wave that's already set up in the laser.

It always makes me smile because the output from a humble radio transmitter, transmitting a CW signal (continuous tone) is exactly the same and no one was ever overawed by the idea of the outputs from lots of vibrating charges (at a few MHz) being in phase for hours on end. But when it's light, they're astounded.

I find it amazing that the stimulated change directs a photon in the same direction as the incident photon. How is this so? That is something I do find incredible, I'm guessing advanced statistics beyond the scope of this post =D?
 
  • #34
sophiecentaur
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It is online. Found lots of information regarding current technologies leading in this field such as the free electron laser, the solid state and the chemical oxygen iodine laser. Specifics are more hidden though, usually behind subscription services - bypassed by academia log ins.
Don't you guys expect for anything these days?
 
  • #35
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Don't you guys expect for anything these days?

I do understand the wording of your statement. Sorry?
 
  • #36
sophiecentaur
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I do understand the wording of your statement. Sorry?

Woops - I meant to say "Don't you guys expect to pay for anything these days?" ( Sorry :Durr)
 
  • #37
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I find it amazing that the stimulated change directs a photon in the same direction as the incident photon. How is this so? That is something I do find incredible, I'm guessing advanced statistics beyond the scope of this post =D?
It would help if you avoided thinking that a little bullet (bad model of a photon) is shot out of an atom in a particular direction. All that happens is that the atom loses its energy to the passing wave because it has been stimulated to produce some energy that is coherent with the wave that's already there.
 
  • #38
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It is online. Found lots of information regarding current technologies leading in this field such as the free electron laser, the solid state and the chemical oxygen iodine laser. Specifics are more hidden though, usually behind subscription services - bypassed by academia log ins.

Do you also believe Wikipedia tells you how to build a non-nuclear EMP weapon? How hard can it be to make a giant microwave? The answer is, they're still experimental after 20 or more years.

This thread touches on a lot of very "interesting" stuff in civil and military, for example, gamma ray shielding, which is an unsolved question important for long duration manned spaceflight.

SpaceX does not patent their spacerocket to prevent people reading the patent and copying it. Spacefligth stuff is protected by secrecy. Once you add military applications, it gets worse.

Someone who has worked in ths field (gamma ray weapons, and spaceship gamma shielding) is either going to remain silent or will *deliberately* provide credible sounding but false information, so you have to realise how speculative this thread is.

Addition: I'm not accusing people of writing false scientific papers, but the papers aren't the whole story.
 
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  • #39
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Random thoughts, corresponding to severals posts:

Free electron lasers operate in the soft X-rays up to now. If you put figures on them, it's very hard to go to the gamma with that method.

Lasers can operate without mirrors, in superradiant mode. Nitrogen lasers often do. No clean beam nor directivity.

A nuclear reactor needs a cold sink which limits the electric power to very little. A chemical source, for instance an airplane engine, can dump the heat with the exhaust gas.

Nuclear weapons have no relationship with missiles. The two last ones travelled by plane, present ones are mostly on cruise missiles (airplanes), the next ones may well travel in a cargo ship followed by an elevator. A serious defence would hence target the bombs, not missiles.

Electron orbitals cannot produce gamma rays because this is the definition of X-rays. Gammas require nucleus transitions.

As far as I ignore (a lot) X-ray lasers using deep electron transitions don't work, essentially because the surrounding matter is too opaque. Or you get rid of the matrix, have only lasing atoms which are then necessarily vaporized at each shot (even more so than for optical lasers) and have the proper source of power to invert the population. One old speculative description involved a tiny plutonium bomb surrounded by wires of heavy metal that lase in superradiant mode.

One laser using very soft nucleus transitions is to radiate in X energy. Seen the theoretical description 2 years (?) ago. This one would be reusable.

Some very limited gamma lasing effect has been observed using a beam of positrons impacting normal matter. I proposed elsewhere to sweep the beam impact at the speed of light so population inversion precedes shortly the light pulse. No idea if someone has tried.
 

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