Scientists are to mimic black holes in a laboratory as part of a £2.35m project looking at how matter and energy interact.
A team at Heriot-Watt University on the outskirts of Edinburgh will produce laser pulses whose energy is measured in trillions of watts.
They will be used to simulate conditions found around a black hole – a place where gravity is so strong that light cannot escape and the normal laws of physics break down.
Daniele Faccio, the lead scientist, said: "What we are creating is the same space-time structure which characterises a black hole. But we' are doing this with a light pulse, so we don't actually have the mass which is associated with black holes.
"Gravitational black holes are generated by a collapsing star. We don't actually have this collapsing star, so there's no danger of being sucked into the black holes we are generating here."
The university has been awarded a €3m (£2.35m) grant by the European Research Council to investigate new areas of quantum physics. Another study will look at how single photons and electrons interact with each other in computer chips.Reuse content