Scientists heat foil to 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit

Talk about a heat wave: Scientists at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, Calif., have generated temperatures of 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit (2 million degrees Celsius) by zapping super-thin aluminum foil with an x-ray laser, Wired Magazine reported. That’s hotter than the outermost layer of our Sun, according to Wired.

At a billion times brighter that any other manmade X-ray source, the laser, known as the Linac Coherent Light Source, is the most powerful in the world, Agence France-Presse reported.

By flash-heating the aluminum with the laser, the scientists created a solid plasma known as hot dense matter, Popular Science reported.

According to Wired:

Hot dense matter is some of the most extreme material in the universe, only existing in the hearts of stars and giant gas planets. Having a sample of it in the lab should provide insights into the material, helping scientists to create better models of its behavior.

The scientists’ work, published today in the journal Nature, will help researchers seeking to understand and even recreate nuclear fusion, Popular Science reported. "Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) is really going to revolutionize the field, in my view," co-author Justin Wark told AFP.

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