SLAC produces first slow motion video of droplets exploding in path of x-ray laser

The first super slow motion film of liquid droplets and jets exploding in the path of an x-ray beam has been created by a team at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in the US.

The movie was shot at the Linear Coherent Light Source, where liquid droplets or jet streams were injected into a vacuum chamber and exposed to a pulsed x-ray laser. Claudiu Stan, based at Stanford University’s PULSE institute, and his colleagues illuminated the ensuing destruction with a pulsed optical laser and recorded the event with a high-speed camera.

Making for a spectacular display, the films are not just for show, however. Liquid jets are often used to confine samples at SLAC. Exploding droplets can damage or destroy a sample, rendering any analysis useless if it cannot be performed quickly. The researchers say that the x-ray pulses stimulate shockwaves in the liquid that can lead to large transient pressures.