Quick, somebody check that two whales have not been kidnapped by a Klingon spaceship from the future. William Shatner performing the Sarah Palin speech as a poem must be a distraction. ;)

Transparent aluminium is ‘new state of matter’ – Phyorg.com: Oxford scientists have created a transparent form of aluminium by bombarding the metal with the world’s most powerful soft X-ray laser. ‘Transparent aluminium’ previously only existed in science fiction, featuring in the movie Star Trek IV, but the real material is an exotic new state of matter with implications for planetary science and nuclear fusion.

  1. MikeR says:

    What about aluminum oxynitride? It was the last ‘Transparent Aluminium’.

  2. Somebody_Else says:

    While exciting, keep in mind that the effect only lasted a fraction of a second, and its only transparent to certain wavelengths.

    The clear ceramic aluminum oxynitride is closest thing we have to “transparent aluminum” at the moment that can be mass produced. Cool stuff.

  3. FRAGaLOT says:

    Worlds most ‘Powerful soft?’
    X-Ray laser?

    Anyone see something wrong with those statements? The first is an oxymoron, and while I’m no scientists, but dosen’t a laser imply focused light, not RADIATION?

  4. Somebody_Else says:

    Visible light, X-rays, radio waves, etc are all forms of electromagnetic radiation.

    As for the “soft” X-Rays, from what I’ve read it seems to be a new technique for using X-Rays to “measure the electronic properties of materials.”

  5. Buzz says:

    …lasted for 40 femtoseconds! Don’t expect it in sunglasses near you anytime in the next century…

  6. Winston says:

    It becomes “invisible” only to “extreme ultraviolet radiation.” When it’s invisible to the entire human-visible spectrum of light, get back with me.

  7. Guyver says:

    I remember reading about the Air Force was looking into developing transparent aluminum back in 2004 / 2005.

    The idea was to use this not only on aircraft but for things like windshields, etc.

  8. chuck says:

    #3, “laser” is an acronym:

    Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

    All forms of light (not just visible light) and heat are forms of radiation. A laser is focused light (and therefore focused radiation). Hence you can have X-ray lasers, which are invisible, but very powerful.

  9. Ah_Yea says:

    More on the transparent aluminum we now have:


    “And yet! That formula Scotty gave for transparent aluminum in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home very nearly exists in the form of aluminum oxynitride (known as ALONtm). Harder than diamond, ALONtm is far more shock resistant than even bullet resistant glass. In Air Force tests it has resisted multiple rounds from a .50 caliber sniper rifle. That hardness also prevents wear and tear, since neither sand nor rocks nor shrapnel in the night will scratch the stuff.

    In practical use, the ALONtm would be the outer layer for windscreens of cockpit covers. It would be backed by a thin layer of glass and a layer of transparent polymer to prevent shattering. All together the ALONtm windscreen would be thinner and lighter than a traditional bullet-resistant windscreen.What’s unclear from my research is whether it would be strong enough to hold back enough water to make the aquarium for all those humpbacks whales on a captured Klingon spaceship, but it’s a start.

    The main downside? It’s wicked expensive. Traditional bullet resistant glass goes for $3 per inch-squared, but ALONtm costs between $10-$15, or it did back in 2005. I can’t seem to find any more current applications for it, but this is the military, it could be classified.


  10. Benjamin says:

    [Picks up mouse] Hello, computer.

  11. Computer says:

    Hello, Benjamin?

  12. Angel H. Wong says:

    It makes me wonder if Superman gave Lois Cancer after doing checking her out with his X-rays for so long.

  13. David says:

    Am I the only one who thought of next generation Apple laptop designs when hearing the phrase “Transparent Aluminum”? In all serious though, I think you have to have a pretty strong science background to understand the significance. I don’t really see what all the fuss is about.

  14. Toast Rack says:

    No big deal, everything is transparent. It just depends upon the energy of the irradiating particle and the detector.

    Shows the conceit of published science dumbing down to make headlines “transparent aluminium”. Now a device that allows you to see the radiation that already passes through objects without smashing your DNA, that would be worth a headline


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