This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC’s registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726. After more than 10 years of research, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Lab created ultra-low-density metal foams so they would have better X-ray sources for fusion experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIS). The metals are configured as foams, but they’re not made by foaming. They are a spaghetti-like web of randomly connected nanometer-sized wires formed into the shape of a miniature marshmallow and containing the same or fewer number of atoms as air. Scientists created these ultra-low-density metals so they could be used as targets for laser-driven X-rays in experiments on the properties of materials in extreme situations, i.e., when NIF’s 192 high-powered lasers are firing at them. Each element emits a characteristic set of X-rays when heated by such lasers and get turned into a plasma. Metal foams mimic gasses even though they are made from materials that are solid at room temperature. The underlying physics of laser-driven X...