The SLAC National Accelerator Lab in Menlo Park, California has a ridiculously powerful X-ray laser. And what would you do if you were one of the members of the team lucky enough to play with said X-ray laser? You would shoot stuff with it, obviously, and you would record all the action to post up later on YouTube. Well, you’re in luck because the researchers at the lab think just like you do and they’re way ahead of you.
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The world’s brightest laser is the star of a series of videos published this week by SLAC, though you won’t actually be able to make out the laser in any of the videos. What you will see, however, are streams and droplets of water being vaporized by this incredible laser — and the footage is beautiful.
Of course, this video isn’t all fun and games. Water is often used to deliver material samples into the path of a laser during tests, and the results are then analyzed by researches at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source. That’s exactly what’s happening here.
“Understanding the dynamics of these explosions will allow us to avoid their unwanted effects on samples,” Stanford PULSE Institute’s Claudiu Stan said. “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.”