Physics

Shocking aluminum into a warm dense state

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Science  17 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6232, pp. 299
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6232.299-c

Simulation of warm dense matter topology

CREDIT: L. B. FLETCHER ET AL. NATURE PHOTONICS 9 (23 MARCH 2015) © NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP

In some extreme environments (such as the interior of Saturn, for example), matter is a dense soup of strongly interacting particles: “warm dense matter” by name. Scientists can create this regime in the laboratory by hitting a material with powerful laser beams, causing shock waves that lead to melting. Fletcher et al. monitored the properties of a thin sample of aluminum as it transformed from a solid into warm dense matter, its density more than doubling in the process. Using x-ray scattering and comparing their results to model calculations, they found that short-range repulsive interactions between ions played a major role in the transition.

Nat. Photon. 10.1038/nphoton.2015.41 (2015).

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