I’m working with superconductors, so the big and easily noticeable breakthrough will be discovery of metallic superconductor in room temperature (or higher one). As you may know materials becoming superconductor below certain temperature (specific to each material). Some scientist claims they found superconductors in nearly room temperature, but even so their proprieties are not good for widely industrial uses.
Currently the majority of particle accelerators world-wide accelerate “conventional” particles, such as protons. Preliminary investigations are under-way to see if we can build an accelerator that will accelerate muons!
Muons are exotic particles, they are like heavy electrons.
We could then trap these muons and then accelerate them!
People in the UK are looking to build “neutrino factories”. These would require muons to be accelerated, when they are going really fast they can decay into electrons and neutrinos. The neutrinos are produced in an intense beam which would be directed towards neutrino detection facilities (possibly like where Daniel works in Japan) and this would be really awesome for their research!
An alternative, or upgrade to this, could be the creating of a muon collider. So get two beams of high energy muons and smash them into each other. This would then enable particle physicists to get more of a grasp of what was going on at the beginning of the Universe.
Both these are really great advances or breakthroughs that could be made. Significant R&D is underway – the main challenge is that muons are exotic, they don’t last that long, they decay away into other particles and that’s not good! In order to create these machines we would have to capture and accelerate the muons within their lifetime (about 2 millionths of a second) which is kind of crazy.
But rest assured, work is underway, in the UK (and worldwide) in addressing these problems, right now!!!
I think in high energy lasers it will be when we generate a field so high we pull apart the vacuum… we focus the laser into nothing and make things fly out. That will be amazing to see and i just hope i get the privilege to be involved 😀