Sandia National Laboratory’s Z Machine is the world’s largest X Ray generator. (Click on photo to see a much larger image.)
Sandia National Lab’s Z Machine is used by professor Don Winget to study properties of white dwarf stars.
The machine was originally used to model nuclear weapons and research the potential of nuclear fusion as an energy source. But along the way, scientists had begun to run experiments to see whether the Z Machine could be used to recreate the conditions of stars.
Daniel Oppenheimer, writing for University of Texas’s Science News explains:
For a few nanoseconds, the power and density of the current is so great — more than six times the total amount of energy released by all the power plants in the world — that it vaporizes the wires, generating a gas-like substance known as hydrogen plasma. It simultaneously produces a magnetic field powerful enough to cause the plasma to implode.
For that brief nanomoment, as the magnetism “pinches” the plasma, generating a massive burst of X-radiation, Winget has a chunk of white dwarf star of his very own.
Read the full article here.