Nuclear Power and the Quasicrystal

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Image of red trinitite sample which contained the quasicrystal.

Newly Discovered Quasicrystal Was Created By The First Nuclear Explosion At Trinity Site

May 18, 2021

David Bressan

I deal with the rocky road to our modern understanding of earth

A newly discovered quasicrystal that was created by the first nuclear explosion at the Trinity test site in the desert of New Mexico on July 16, 1945, could someday help scientists better understand illicit nuclear explosions and curb nuclear proliferation.

“Understanding another countries’ nuclear weapons requires that we have a clear understanding of their nuclear testing programs,” said Terry C. Wallace, director emeritus of Los Alamos National Laboratory and co-author of the paper about the discovery, which was published today in PNAS. “We typically analyze radioactive debris and gases to understand how the weapons were built or what materials they contained, but those signatures decay. A quasicrystal that is formed at the site of a nuclear blast can potentially tell us new types of information—and they’ll exist forever.”

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