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Researchers discover superdense aluminium

Monday September 12 2011

An international research team involving Centre for Micro-Photonics Professor of Nanopotonics Saulius Juodkazis has discovered a new material, superdense aluminium, which has never before been found on Earth.

Published in the journal Nature Communications, The researchers were able to create the superdense aluminium, which is around 40 per cent stronger and denser than its conventional counterpart, by simulating the conditions found at the centre of the Earth.

At extreme pressures and temperatures, such as those found in our Earth’s core, common materials form new dense phases with compacted atomic arrangements and unusual physical properties.

"Because we can’t physically see or sample materials from the extreme depths of the Earth, we need to come up with other ways to prove the existence of superdense materials. In this case, we replicated the high pressure conditions on a nano scale," Professor Juodkazis said.

"By focusing single short laser pulses of light onto a sapphire we were able to induce a micro explosion within it. This process mimics the kind of seismic forces that have shaped the earth and other planets, melting and reforming materials under intense pressure, allowing us to synthesise the superdense aluminium material."

More information on the discovery can be found at the Swinburne Media Centre website. The journal article can be found at the Nature Publishing Group website.