New Transparent State of Matter Created With Powerful Laser

July 29, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A group of scientists have created, what they are calling a new state of matter, by blasting aluminum with a high powered laser changing the properties of the aluminum into a state of near transparency, when exposed to ultraviolet radiation. The scientists believe their new discovery may one day lead to the development of nuclear fusion technology, which could provide cheap and plentiful power for the entire world.

Lead researcher Professor Justin Wark of Oxford University’s Department of Physics, created the new state of matter by blasting a sample of aluminum with a high-powered synchrotron radiation generator called the FLASH laser, stored in Hamburg, Germany. The FLASH laser produces powerful bursts of soft X-ray light, with each burst capable of providing enough electricity to light up an entire city.

The scientists concentrated the enormous power of the laser on a small area of the aluminum that became transparent for about 40 femtoseconds. The transparency occurred when the laser “knocked out” a core electron from the aluminum atoms, without changing the metal’s crystalline structure.

Although this seems like a relatively small accomplishment, Professor Wark explains that’s it a great scientific achievement to create a new state of matter, even for a brief moment. “What is particularly remarkable about our experiment is that we have turned ordinary aluminum into this exotic new material in a single step by using this very powerful laser,” said Wark.

The study is available in the journal Nature Physics.

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