Watch the most powerful x-ray laser zap droplets of water

Cool watery explosions incoming.

Scientists at Stanford University's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory wanted to better understand explosions caused by x-rays, and we got a cool short movie out of their efforts. They filmed droplets and jets of water being vaporized by the lab's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) -- the most powerful x-ray laser in the world. Claudiu Stan, one of those scientists, explained that "understanding the dynamics of these explosions will allow [them] to avoid their unwanted effects on samples." On the other hand, the data they gathered could also lead to new ways of using those explosions to trigger changes in their samples.

The team used an ultrafast optical laser as their light source and a high-resolution microscope to take a photo of the setup every time an x-ray pulse hits the liquid. They then strung those images together to show how the x-ray completely rips apart the jets and droplets of water. The scientists published their findings in Nature Physics, but if you're only here for the cool videos (aren't we all?), check 'em out below.