Precise control of one of the most powerful lasers in the world was required to accelerate electrons to the highest energies ever recorded using a compact accelerator. What kind of laser are we talking? A petawatt laser. Yeah, that probably isn’t used to play with cats.
The laser-plasma accelerator is a new class of particle accelerators. Physicists believe the miles-long accelerators will be a thing of the past soon. These suckers can fit right on your table.