Almost everything you need to know comes from this article here:*
By bombarding aluminum with a high-powered X-ray laser, and knocking an electron out of each atom, Wark et al. have created transparent aluminum**. It doesn't last very long, but what the hey.
Professor Wark added: ‘What is particularly remarkable about our experiment is that we have turned ordinary aluminium into this exotic new material in a single step by using this very powerful laser. For a brief period the sample looks and behaves in every way like a new form of matter. In certain respects, the way it reacts is as though we had changed every aluminium atom into silicon: it’s almost as surprising as finding that you can turn lead into gold with light!’
Things the scientists suggest we can do:
- understand the inner workings of planets
- understand 'miniature stars' which would lead to understanding nuclear fusion better
- study exotic states of matter
- make other elements transparent (lead, gold, copper)
- find a way to keep the transparency, so we could have UV-transparent walls (no clue what they would be used for, but they'd be cool)
- find a way to make the equipment portable, so we could look through walls by using the UV as a kind of radar (very cool for spies, law enforcement, criminals, and jealous boyfriends)
- find another state of matter (What if you hit liquid oxygen with x-rays? Or hydrogen plasma? Or a Bose-Einstein condensate? Or water? What exactly would transparent water look like?)
- take our newfound planetary geological knowledge and build ourselves a planet
- found Magrathea
- calm down a volcanic extrasolar planet, to make it suitable for terraforming
- build ourselves a star
- take the planets and the star and make a solar system
- prevent a star from going red giant (such as Sol)
Anybody else have ideas? Weigh in!
* Gratias, Engadget!
** but only invisible to UV radiation