Wednesday 16 September 2015

Bacteria fashioned to produce X-rays

A research consortium have stated that they have fashioned bacteria to produce X-rays.

This was through a study whereby a femtosecond, infrared, high intensity laser irradiating a glass slide coated with Escherichia coli was conducted. The effect of the laser was to turn the cell material into a hot, dense plasma.

The research group discovered that natural micro and nanostructures in the bacteria can be used for such intensity enhancement leading to hotter, brighter plasma. They showed that the bacterial cells increased the X-ray flux by a factor of 100 in the 50 -- 300 keV x-ray region.

After this they grew the bacterial cells in a silver chloride solution whereby the silver atoms aggregated as nanoparticles inside the cell. This allowed the bacteria spiked with nanoparticles to be used to boost the emission a further 100 times, leading to an overall enhancement of 10,000 times from the flux emitted by plain glass slides without the bacterial coating.

The finding could potentially lead to biological led plasma physics and high energy density science for creating novel particle sources.

The study was carried out at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai and Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhi Nagar. The research has been published in the journal Optics Express, in a paper headed “Enhanced x-ray emission from nano-particle doped bacteria.”

This has been adapted from a research note issued by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

Posted by Tim Sandle

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