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'Star Trek Replicator' May Turn Light To Matter
A Star Trek style replicator that turns light into matter could be created within months.
Physicists at Imperial College London are examining a theory, put forward in 1934, which proposed that smashing two photons - light particles - together could create matter.
The researchers now believe the theory can be tested using a device known as a photon-photon collider.
It will use two complicated methods to create two varied photons - which will then be smashed together to see whether matter is created.
First, a high-intensity laser will be used to speed electrons to nearly the speed of light, then they will then be fired at a slab of gold.
This will beam photons with a billion times more energy than the speed of light.
Secondly, a high-energy laser will be fired into a gold canister, creating thermal radiation equivalent to a star's light.
In a paper submitted to the Nature science journal, the researchers wrote: "This would provide the first realisation of a pure photon-photon collider, representing the advent of a new type of high-energy physics experiment."
The experiment is scheduled to take place within the next year.