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Phys Rev Lett. 2006 Apr 28;96(16):166101. Epub 2006 Apr 25.

Laser-induced microexplosion confined in the bulk of a sapphire crystal: evidence of multimegabar pressures.

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CREST-JST and Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University, N21-W10, CRIS Building, Kita-ku, Sapporo 001-0021, Japan.


Extremely high pressures (approximately 10 TPa) and temperatures (5 x 10(5) K) have been produced using a single laser pulse (100 nJ, 800 nm, 200 fs) focused inside a sapphire crystal. The laser pulse creates an intensity over 10(14) W/cm2 converting material within the absorbing volume of approximately 0.2 microm3 into plasma in a few fs. A pressure of approximately 10 TPa, far exceeding the strength of any material, is created generating strong shock and rarefaction waves. This results in the formation of a nanovoid surrounded by a shell of shock-affected material inside undamaged crystal. Analysis of the size of the void and the shock-affected zone versus the deposited energy shows that the experimental results can be understood on the basis of conservation laws and be modeled by plasma hydrodynamics. Matter subjected to record heating and cooling rates of 10(18) K/s can, thus, be studied in a well-controlled laboratory environment.

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