PSFC Seminar: Siegried Glenzer
Wednesday, March 03, 2021 at 1:00pm to 2:00pmVirtual Event
Exploring the most extreme conditions of matter with ultra-bright X-rays
Abstract: Normally, what surrounds us are gases, liquids, or solids. But elsewhere in the universe, 99% of the observable matter exists under extreme conditions that lead to exotic states of matter and the formation of plasmas and warm dense matter. Specifically, near the center of Jupiter, hydrogen becomes liquid or even solid - a process important to understand the evolution of our solar system. In the center of the sun, hydrogen is a plasma that burns itself up by nuclear fusion - a process humans want to harness for clean energy production on earth. In the mantle of Neptune, hydrogen and carbon cannot mix and are postulated to form giant diamonds – a process that can explain Neptune’s excess heat generation. On the other hand, very hot plasmas are postulated to eject particles that we can observe as cosmic rays and that are a million times more energetic than mankind’s largest machines. At SLAC, we are now studying these extreme states of matter in the laboratory. We apply enormous pressures to earthbound samples and use our X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source, to take split-second photographs of the states that result. This lecture will describe these experiments. The information we are gathering provides fundamental insights into the physical properties of matter in extreme conditions whose understanding is important for modeling astrophysical processes and for pursuing controlled fusion. To further advance this field, a new upgrade has been proposed to bring state-of-the art lasers to the LCLX X-ray beam and which has recently been reviewed and endorsed by the US user community.