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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Transparent Aluminum Invented--Thank You Scotty

   
Author Topic: Transparent Aluminum Invented--Thank You Scotty
Philosofickle
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Granted we aren't quite making submarine windows out of it yet, but it is a new state of matter and the process of making it is fascinating.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727130814.htm

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rivka
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Interesting. But calling it transparent is overselling it quite a bit. [Razz]
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scifibum
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Yeah, the headline AND the first few paragraphs seem rather misleading. Here are two crucial bits:

quote:
The FLASH laser, based in Hamburg, Germany, produces extremely brief pulses of soft X-ray light, each of which is more powerful than the output of a power plant that provides electricity to a whole city.
quote:
‘What is particularly remarkable about our experiment is that we have turned ordinary aluminium into this exotic new material in a single step by using this very powerful laser. For a brief period the sample looks and behaves in every way like a new form of matter. In certain respects, the way it reacts is as though we had changed every aluminium atom into silicon: it’s almost as surprising as finding that you can turn lead into gold with light!’
So as long as you expend an incredible amount of power, the aluminum temporarily lets some energetic ultraviolet through.

This does not have a future application in submarine windows. It might be weaponized, I suppose - fry the contents of a container or vehicle without destroying/wasting a perfectly good container.

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Raymond Arnold
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Yeah, this was disappointing, in particular because it didn't HAVE to be disappointing. The idea is very cool, if they hadn't false advertised it.
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Sterling
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I'm not sure about practical applications, except that for forty seconds you could make the world's most useless aluminum sun umbrella.

As far as weaponizing it goes, once you have a high-powered laser, do you really need to get exotic with it?

As has been said... Cool science, a little pathetic in how they tried to make it sexy.

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Nighthawk
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quote:
As far as weaponizing it goes, once you have a high-powered laser, do you really need to get exotic with it?
Isn't "getting exotic" the fun part of weaponizing stuff?
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Godric 2.0
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:
I'm not sure about practical applications, except that for forty seconds you could make the world's most useless aluminum sun umbrella.

Actually, that's 40 femtoseconds, which, according to Wikipedia:

A femtosecond is one quadrillionth, or one billionth of one millionth of a second. For context, a femtosecond is to a second, what a second is to about 32 million years.

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King of Men
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Pretty impressive measurements, there. I measure particle lifetimes with uncertainties in the hundreds of femtoseconds, with a tail up to a whole picosecond.
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Philosofickle
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If that's the case I think I'm most impressed that we have tools that can measure that minutely.
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