Laser Hotter Than Sun’s Corona

The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), an X-ray laser that appears to be the most powerful laser in the world, was used to heat a tiny piece of aluminum foil to 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit (two million degrees Celsius if you prefer metric). That is hotter than the corona of the Sun.

The LCLS generates pulses that are a billion times brighter than any x-ray sources before it. Scientists explained that those pulses turned the piece of aluminum into “hot dense matter.” The experiment, through which scientists hope to gain a better understanding of the processes that take place within the center of our Sun and other stars, marks the first time that scientists have been able to create plasma from solid matter.

Sam Vinko, a postdoctoral researcher at Oxford University and the lead author of an article in Nature published by the research team, described the application of their investigation:

Making extremely hot, dense matter is important scientifically if we are ultimately to understand the conditions that exist inside stars and at the center of giant planets within our own solar system and beyond.