Using ever more energetic lasers, Lawrence Livermore researchers have produced a record high number of electron-positron pairs, opening exciting opportunities to study extreme astrophysical processes, such as black holes and gamma-ray bursts.By performing experiments using three laser systems.Positrons, or "anti-electrons," are anti-particles with the same mass of an electron but with opposite charge. The generation of energetic electron-positron pairs is common in extreme astrophysical environments associated with the rapid collapse of stars and formation of black holes. These pairs eventually radiate their energy, producing extremely bright bursts of gamma rays. Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are the brightest electromagnetic events known to occur in the universe and can last from ten milliseconds to several minutes. The mechanism of how these GRBs are produced is still a mystery.
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