Credit: Tao Wang, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and the Center for Energy Research, UC San Diego.
This Comet-generated simulation illustrates how an intense laser pulse is able to propagate into the dense material because of its relativistic intensity. In other words, as the velocity of the electrons approaches the speed of light, their mass becomes so heavy that the target becomes transparent. Because of the transparency, the laser pulse pushes the electrons to form a magnetic field that is very strong. This strength is comparable to that on a neutron star’s surface, which is at least 100 million times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field and a thousand times stronger than the field of superconducting magnets.