To give particles a good crack, researchers typically shoot them down kilometers-long accelerators into a target. Some hope to shrink particle smashers down to benchtop size, however, by making particles "surf" on waves of superhot gas, or plasma. Now physicists have visualized such ripples--the fastest matter waves ever imaged--zipping along at 99.997 percent of the speed of light. A group fired an intense laser pulse into plasma to kickstart the waves and shined two laser beams along the resulting waves to illuminate them. As predicted, the wavefronts curve in the way needed to accelerate particles. They described their findings at this week's annual meeting of the American Physical Societys Division of Plasma Physics.