•Evidence of superdense aluminium
Scientists study the behavior of materials under conditions simulating those in the core of the Earth. Here, the authors report the synthesis of a superdense stable phase--a new phase--of body-centred-cubic aluminium (bcc-Al). The phase occured under non-equilibrium conditions of an ultrafast laser-induced microexplosion inside a sapphire (α-Al2O3) crystal.
Aluminum was subjected to such intense pressure that the solid formed a plasma. When the plasma explodes, a powerful shockwave is generated that can reach pressures of over 10 megabar. Dramatic changes in material properties then occur. An international team of scientists including Wenge Yang (HPSynC, Carnegie Institution) first synthesized the body-centered-cubic (bcc)-Al phase and confirmed the new phase with high-energy synchrotron x-ray micro-diffraction technique.
Figure: Single short laser pulses of light focused on a sapphire produced intense pressure and high temperature sufficient to enable synthesis of the superdense aluminum material.
Ref: Vailionis, Arturas, et al., Evidence of superdense aluminium synthesized by ultrafast microexplosion, Nat. Commun. 2:445 (2011). DOI:10.1038/ncomms1449 (23 Aug. 2011).