Watch Water Droplets Get Vaporized by the World's Brightest X-Ray Laser

Wednesday, 25 May 2016 - 5:55AM
Physics
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 - 5:55AM
Watch Water Droplets Get Vaporized by the World's Brightest X-Ray Laser
Scientists have created the first recordings of tiny water droplets being vaporized by the world's brightest X-Ray laser. The team, based out of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University used an X-Ray that fires around a thousand times faster than most facilities to deliver some stunning and, most-importantly, useful imagery. The team hopes the movies can lead to new discoveries about certain atomic-level processes, which have until now been incredible hard to observe.

Opening quote
"Thanks to a special imaging system developed for this purpose, we were able to record these movies for the first time," says the paper's co-author Sébastien Boutet. "We used an ultrafast optical laser like a strobe light to illuminate the explosion, and made images with a high-resolution microscope that is suitable for use in the vacuum chamber where the X-rays hit the samples."
Closing quote
 
The result isn't just insightful, it's actually kind of mesmerizing.



The study, published in Nature Physics, used the water droplets to carry samples into the path of of SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), which swiftly vaporized the water upon contact. The remarkable images show how the X-Rays created shockwaves through the water, creating even smaller droplets of water that eventually returned back to their original source after briefly being blasted away. It's findings like this that the team hope can be applied to ensure the utmost accuracy of future studies.

As stunning as the imagery of these reactions are, the team believes there will be a number of practical implications of their findings. Most notably, X-Ray lasers are often used to take readings of liquid samples, but many times the results are inconclusive because the sample has exploded upon contact with the laser. By studying these explosions on such a minute scale, the team can help ensure X-Ray lasers are more efficiently used in the future. 

Opening quote
"Understanding the dynamics of these explosions will allow us to avoid their unwanted effects on samples," said Claudiu Stan of Stanford PULSE Institute. "It could also help us find new ways of using explosions caused by X-rays to trigger changes in samples and study matter under extreme conditions. These studies could help us better understand a wide range of phenomena in X-ray science and other applications."
Closing quote



Via: Phys.org



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