Milestone for High Energy Density Physics

2 September 2021

Trinity Fellow Justin Wark represented the UK academic community at the opening of a new European X-Ray laser physics facility. 

In a milestone for the field of high energy density physics, a new beamline at the European X-Ray Laser (XFEL) was officially opened on 31st August. Oxford's Department of Physics is one of the major contributors to this beamline, and Professor Wark, Director of the The Oxford Centre for High Energy Density Science (OxCHEDS), represented the UK academic community at the inauguration ceremony in Hamburg.  

This new facility will allow matter at pressures greater than those at the centre of the earth to be created ten times per second, and its structure probed with the x-ray laser. The matter is compressed via ablation, with a powerful laser creating plasmas on the surface of small samples to compress them to high densities. The laser was built by the UK Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford Laboratory, with a grant held by Professor Wark.

Professor Wark says: 'We are very happy to be part of the HIBEF consortium, and it has been a real pleasure collaborating with HZDR and the European XFEL to help enable this new experimental facility for High Energy Density Science. The unique opportunities this project provides will allow us to explore states of matter relevant to our own planet, as well as creating and probing matter under conditions that only exist elsewhere in the Universe. I greatly look forward to the exciting new science that this new capability will enable.'