Hotter, faster

A laser could be used to heat materials to a temperature hotter than the centre of the Sun - 10 million Celsius - within a mere 20 femtoseconds, according to new research from Imperial College London, UK. The team at IC has worked out an extremely rapid heating mechanism, which they suggest could allow certain materials to be heated to extremely high temperatures almost instantaneously. Such an ability will be of great interest to those attempting to harness nuclear fusion in power generation.