Liquid explosions induced by X-ray laser pulses

Claudiu A. Stan, Despina Milathianaki, Hartawan Laksmono, Raymond G. Sierra, Trevor A. McQueen, Marc Messerschmidt, Garth J. Williams, Jason E. Koglin, Thomas J. Lane, Matt J. Hayes, Serge A.H. Guillet, Mengning Liang, Andrew L. Aquila, Philip R. Willmott, Joseph S. Robinson, Karl L. Gumerlock, Sabine Botha, Karol Nass, Ilme Schlichting, Robert L. ShoemanHoward A. Stone, Sébastien Boutet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Explosions are spectacular and intriguing phenomena that expose the dynamics of matter under extreme conditions. We investigated, using time-resolved imaging, explosions induced by ultraintense X-ray laser pulses in water drops and jets. Our observations revealed an explosive vaporization followed by high-velocity interacting flows of liquid and vapour, and by the generation of shock trains in the liquid jets. These flows are different from those previously observed in laser ablation, owing to a simpler spatial pattern of X-ray absorption. We show that the explosion dynamics in our experiments is consistent with a redistribution of absorbed energy, mediated by a pressure or shock wave in the liquid, and we model the effects of explosions, including their adverse impact on X-ray laser experiments. X-ray laser explosions have predictable dynamics that may prove useful for controlling the state of pure liquids over broad energy scales and timescales, and for triggering pressure-sensitive molecular dynamics in solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)966-971
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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