Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Transparent aluminium is ‘new state of matter’

Experimental set-up at the FLASH laser used to discover the new state of matter.
Experimental set-up at the FLASH laser used to discover the new state of matter.

Abstract:
Oxford scientists have created a transparent form of aluminium by bombarding the metal with the world's most powerful soft X-ray laser. ‘Transparent aluminium' previously only existed in science fiction, featuring in the movie Star Trek IV, but the real material is an exotic new state of matter with implications for planetary science and nuclear fusion.

Transparent aluminium is ‘new state of matter’

Oxford, UK | Posted on July 28th, 2009

In this week's Nature Physics an international team, led by Oxford University scientists, report that a short pulse from the FLASH laser ‘knocked out' a core electron from every aluminium atom in a sample without disrupting the metal's crystalline structure. This turned the aluminium nearly invisible to extreme ultraviolet radiation.

''What we have created is a completely new state of matter nobody has seen before,' said Professor Justin Wark of Oxford University's Department of Physics, one of the authors of the paper. ‘Transparent aluminium is just the start. The physical properties of the matter we are creating are relevant to the conditions inside large planets, and we also hope that by studying it we can gain a greater understanding of what is going on during the creation of 'miniature stars' created by high-power laser implosions, which may one day allow the power of nuclear fusion to be harnessed here on Earth.'

The discovery was made possible with the development of a new source of radiation that is ten billion times brighter than any synchrotron in the world (such as the UK's Diamond Light Source). The FLASH laser, based in Hamburg, Germany, produces extremely brief pulses of soft X-ray light, each of which is more powerful than the output of a power plant that provides electricity to a whole city.

The Oxford team, along with their international colleagues, focused all this power down into a spot with a diameter less than a twentieth of the width of a human hair. At such high intensities the aluminium turned transparent.

Whilst the invisible effect lasted for only an extremely brief period - an estimated 40 femtoseconds - it demonstrates that such an exotic state of matter can be created using very high power X-ray sources.

Professor Wark added: ‘What is particularly remarkable about our experiment is that we have turned ordinary aluminium into this exotic new material in a single step by using this very powerful laser. For a brief period the sample looks and behaves in every way like a new form of matter. In certain respects, the way it reacts is as though we had changed every aluminium atom into silicon: it's almost as surprising as finding that you can turn lead into gold with light!'

The researchers believe that the new approach is an ideal way to create and study such exotic states of matter and will lead to further work relevant to areas as diverse as planetary science, astrophysics and nuclear fusion power.

A report of the research, ‘Turning solid aluminium transparent by intense soft X-ray photoionization', is published in Nature Physics. The research was carried out by an international team led by Oxford University scientists Professor Justin Wark, Dr Bob Nagler, Dr Gianluca Gregori, William Murphy, Sam Vinko and Thomas Whitcher.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
telephone: 44 01865 280528
fax: 44 01865 280535

Copyright © Oxford University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Nanoparticles Increase Durability of Concrete Decorations in Cold Areas January 26th, 2015

Iranian Researchers Boost Solar Cells Efficiency Using Anti-Aggregates January 26th, 2015

Detection of Heavy Metals in Samples with Naked Eye January 26th, 2015

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers January 26th, 2015

Discoveries

Visualizing interacting electrons in a molecule: Scientists at Aalto University and the University of Zurich have succeeded in directly imaging how electrons interact within a single molecule January 26th, 2015

Electronic circuits with reconfigurable pathways closer to reality January 26th, 2015

Nanoparticles Increase Durability of Concrete Decorations in Cold Areas January 26th, 2015

Iranian Researchers Boost Solar Cells Efficiency Using Anti-Aggregates January 26th, 2015

Materials/Metamaterials

Chromium-centered cycloparaphenylene rings for making functionalized nanocarbons January 26th, 2015

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers January 26th, 2015

Toyocolor to Launch New Carbon Nanotube Materials at nano tech 2015 January 24th, 2015

The latest fashion: Graphene edges can be tailor-made: Rice University theory shows it should be possible to tune material's properties January 24th, 2015

Announcements

Nanoparticles Increase Durability of Concrete Decorations in Cold Areas January 26th, 2015

Iranian Researchers Boost Solar Cells Efficiency Using Anti-Aggregates January 26th, 2015

Detection of Heavy Metals in Samples with Naked Eye January 26th, 2015

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers January 26th, 2015

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Scientists 'bend' elastic waves with new metamaterials that could have commercial applications: Materials could benefit imaging and military enhancements such as elastic cloaking January 23rd, 2015

Teijin to Participate in Nano Tech 2015 January 22nd, 2015

New method to generate arbitrary optical pulses January 21st, 2015

New signal amplification process set to transform communications, imaging, computing: UC San Diego researchers discover a mechanism to amplify signals in optoelectronic systems that is far more efficient than standard processes January 21st, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE