Thursday, July 30, 2009

Strange States

Oxford University physicists have created a brand new form of matter.


Scientists claim to have created a form of aluminum that's nearly transparent to extreme ultraviolet radiation and which is a new state of matter.

It's an idea straight out of science fiction, featured in the movie "Star Trek IV." (Cuz there's nothing like Trek for accurate science.)

. . . To create the new, even more exotic stuff, a short pulse from a laser "knocked out" a core electron from every aluminum atom in a sample without disrupting the metal's crystalline structure, the researchers explain.

''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.

"Transparent aluminum is just the start," Wark said. "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."

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2 Comments:

Blogger Lance Larka said...

nifty...but I'm having trouble coming up with possible uses of aluminum transparent to UV.

Ideas anyone?

11:14 AM  
Blogger Dave Goldman said...

Ideas anyone?

Nothing apart from the obvious one. (You know: where your enemy is protecting himself from the post-apocalyptic, ozone-layerless sun by sitting beneath an aluminum awning, so you shoot his awning with a brief pulse of synchrotron X-rays, thus debilitating him with sunburn.)

12:34 AM  

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