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A look at experiments with a shock-compressed magnesium oxide (MgO) laser in a cell at the Laser Energies Laboratory. High-energy laser beams are used to compress MgO samples to pressures greater than the pressures at the center of the Earth. A secondary source of X-rays is used to study the crystal structure of MgO. Brighter regions are glowing plasma emissions on nanosecond timescales. Credit: June Wicks/Johns Hopkins University

A look at experiments with a shock-compressed magnesium oxide (MgO) laser in a cell at the Laser Energies Laboratory. High-energy laser beams are used to compress MgO samples to pressures greater than the pressures at the center of the Earth. A secondary source of X-rays is used to study the crystal structure of MgO. Brighter regions are glowing plasma emissions on nanosecond timescales. Credit: June Wicks/Johns Hopkins University

A look at experiments with a shock-compressed magnesium oxide (MgO) laser in a cell at the Laser Energies Laboratory. High-energy laser beams are used to compress MgO samples to pressures greater than the pressures at the center of the Earth. A secondary source of X-rays is used to study the crystal structure of MgO. Brighter regions are glowing plasma emissions on nanosecond timescales. Credit: June Wicks/Johns Hopkins University

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