Although not assisted by Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, scientists have been able to create transparent aluminum.
As reported by Science Daily, a transparent form of aluminium was created by Oxford scientists by bombarding aluminium with the world’s most powerful soft x-ray laser.
The international team of scientists, led by Oxford University scientists, used a short pulse from a FLASH laser to “knock out” a core electron from every aluminium atom in a sample without disrupting the crystalline structure of the metal.
This procedure 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 Oxford University Department of Physics Professor Justin Wark. “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 laser used, a FLASH laser, produces short pulses of soft-x-ray light, each pulse of which is more powerful than the output of a power plant that produces electricity to an entire city.
“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,” said Wark. “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!”
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