Femtosecond visualization of lattice dynamics in shock-compressed matter

D. Milathianaki, S. Boutet, G. J. Williams, A. Higginbotham, D. Ratner, A. E. Gleason, M. Messerschmidt, M. M. Seibert, D. C. Swift, P. Hering, J. Robinson, W. E. White, J. S. Wark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


The ultrafast evolution of microstructure is key to understanding high-pressure and strain-rate phenomena. However, the visualization of lattice dynamics at scales commensurate with those of atomistic simulations has been challenging. Here, we report femtosecond x-ray diffraction measurements unveiling the response of copper to laser shock-compression at peak normal elastic stresses of ∼73 gigapascals (GPa) and strain rates of 109 per second. We capture the evolution of the lattice from a one-dimensional (1D) elastic to a 3D plastically relaxed state within a few tens of picoseconds, after reaching shear stresses of 18 GPa. Our in situ high-precision measurement of material strength at spatial (<1 micrometer) and temporal (<50 picoseconds) scales provides a direct comparison with multimillion-atom molecular dynamics simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-223
Number of pages4
Issue number6155
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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