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Shark Science

NIF Compresses Diamonds With 50 Million Atmospheres of Pressure 81

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the memories-bring-diamonds-and-lasers dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes The world's largest laser [the National Ignition Facility], a machine that appeared as the warp core in 'Star Trek into Darkness', has attained a powerful result: It's squeezed diamond, the least compressible substance known, 50 million times harder than Earth's atmosphere presses down on us. ... As the researchers report online today in Nature, the x-ray assault nearly quadrupled the diamond's density. "That's a record," Smith [one of the researchers] says. "No one's compressed diamond to that extent before." The blast pulverized the diamond into dust, but before the mineral's destruction the scientists successfully measured its density ... For a billionth of a second, the diamond, which is normally 3.25 times denser than water, became ... 12.03 times denser than water. ... Scientists have speculated that diamond worlds may exist elsewhere. If a solar system arises with more carbon than oxygen, then carbon should soak up the oxygen by forming carbon monoxide, leaving excess carbon to create carbon planets—which, under pressure, become diamond worlds. Thus, Smith says, the new experiment will probe the nature of such planets. They are performing similar experiments with iron in an attempt to understand the properties of super-Earth cores.

NIF Compresses Diamonds With 50 Million Atmospheres of Pressure

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  • Can someone explain this with a car analogy?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      In automotive terms, they dropped a Hummer from the SpaceX reusable rocket at the peak of a test-launch and for an infinitesimaly small period of time during the impact, it was compressed to the size of a Pinto, before shattering into a pile of scrap metal.

      Except this was done with diamond and a laser instead of a Hummer and a rocket.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        In automotive terms, they dropped a Hummer from the SpaceX reusable rocket at the peak of a test-launch and for an infinitesimaly[sic] small period of time before the impact, it got almost the same MPG of a Pinto, before shattering into a pile of scrap metal.

        • by idji (984038)
          during the impact.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Basically they used lasers to stuff 99 people into a VW bug for about a nanosecond. Then the entire thing exploded violently into sand-grain-sized chunks of metal and meat.

    • by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Thursday July 17, 2014 @05:08PM (#47478091) Homepage Journal

      Can someone explain this with a car analogy?

      Star Trek Into Darkness:Star Trek The Wrath of Khan :: Ford Pinto : Ford Mustang (1969 Boss version)

      No idea about the laser.

    • by GrandCow (229565)

      Think of a monster truck show.

      All those junk cars lined up in a row, that's the diamond. Then out comes Gravedigger. The driver revs the engine and hits the ramp, landing on the cars and crushing them. Bam, denser diamonds.

      Then Truckasaurus comes stomping out into the arena and starts grabbing the smashed cars and eating them. Flames and sparks are shooting everywhere and the cars (diamonds) explode into little pieces half a second later.

      • by mjm1231 (751545)

        Homer: Here are your messages: "You have 30 minutes to move your car," "You have 10 minutes," "Your car has been impounded," "Your car has been crushed into a cube," "You have 30 minutes to move your cube."
        [phone rings]
        Homer: [answering] Hello, Mr. Burns' office.
        Mr. Burns: Is it about my cube?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The taxpayers bought a bunch of scientists some incredible equipment to help them develop the most amazing car ever. The new car the scientists promised would be faster than any rocketcar to cross the salt flats, more rugged than an MRAP, have more luxury than a Maybach, and be nearly free to operate because it would run on sea water.

      As the decades slipped by and people asked these scientists "where's our shiny new ultimate car?" the scientists always gave the same answer: "We just got the first cough of ig

  • by adric22 (413850) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @04:47PM (#47477973) Homepage

    I see that mistake so often. It should be "star system" because only our star system is called "Solar system" because our star is called Sol.

    • by tysonedwards (969693) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @05:00PM (#47478043)
      "Solar System" in this case would be a specific noun, and as such warrants the capitalization. Sol, our Star, is also a specific noun, hence its warrant of capitalization, just as we would capitalize a person's name. If one is referring to "a solar system" in a generic sense rather than an unknown but implied specific Star and it's surrounding Planets, then lower case is appropriate.
      • Further, Solar System is implying Star + Planets, or "like Sol System".
      • "Solar System" in this case would be a specific noun, and as such warrants the capitalization. Sol, our Star, is also a specific noun, hence its warrant of capitalization, just as we would capitalize a person's name. If one is referring to "a solar system" in a generic sense rather than an unknown but implied specific Star and it's surrounding Planets, then lower case is appropriate.

        Can you please explain to me why this actually matters?

        Since somebody spent the time to write out a detailed explanation about capitalisation of the phrase "solar system", this must be of some importance.

        Again, why does this matter?

        • Capitalization is the difference between...

          helping your Uncle Jack off a horse.

          and

          helping your uncle jack off a horse.

        • by rwise2112 (648849)

          Again, why does this matter?

          Because, technically correct is the best kind of correct!

      • I come into the comments looking for someone modded up for actually explaining things, and THIS is the only thing modded +5?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    • And you will see its usage increase as it becomes part of the common lexicon.
      A very frequent place to find this misused is the pseudo-science programs on Science and History channels. And I'm sure the Duck Dynasty and Honey Boo Boos out their wouldn't understand the difference if you hit them in the head with a Star Encyclopedia, it would however, be enjoyable.

      Sigh, I had such great hopes for those types of channels when they first appeared. Now they live off of Ancient Aliens and Blob People From The Depth
    • I see that mistake so often. It should be "star system" because only our star system is called "Solar system" because our star is called Sol.

      Funny thing is, often words have multiple meanings:

      Solar system
      noun
      1.the sun together with all the planets and other bodies that revolve around it.
      2.a similar system with celestial bodies revolving around a star other than the sun.

      http://dictionary.reference.co... [reference.com]

      • Furthermore we also refer to other stars as "suns" when we feel like it or the context makes it useful.

  • So that's how De Beers keeps their monopoly, they dispose of extra diamonds... by crushing them with a really expensive laser...

  • The missing link (Score:4, Informative)

    by scdeimos (632778) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @05:43PM (#47478371)

    Disappointing that the Star Trek tie-in was mentioned but the link was omitted...

    National Ignition Facility provides backdrop for "Star Trek: Into Darkness" [llnl.gov]

  • by slincolne (1111555) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @05:43PM (#47478375)
    Can't sustain fusion, so let's use the nice shiny laser to zap things and pretend its science :-)
  • It presses us from all sides with the same force (except for a minuscule difference due to different height of things). This is a real stupid beginner's mistake.

  • Apparently, they're doing experiments like this at the LHC too: http://www.theonion.com/video/... [theonion.com]

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