From SLAC Office of Communications
Shock Wave Experiment at SLAC’s X-ray Laser Tracks Formation of a Mysterious Type of Matter
In an experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists precisely measured the temperature and structure of aluminum as it transitions into a superhot, highly compressed concoction known as “warm dense matter.”
Warm dense matter is the stuff believed to be at the cores of giant gas planets in our solar system and some of the newly observed “exoplanets” that orbit distant suns, which can be many times more massive than Jupiter. Their otherworldly properties, which stretch our understanding of planetary formation, have excited new interest in studies of this exotic state of matter.
The results of the SLAC study, published March 23 in Nature Photonics, could also lead to a greater understanding of how to produce and control nuclear fusion, which scientists hope to harness as a new source of energy.