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News Picks : Metallic hydrogen experiment yields solid crystal

By: Physics Today
Thu Jan 07 13:01:00 UTC 2016

BBC: First predicted 80 years ago, metallic hydrogen is a theoretical state of hydrogen that could revolutionize everything from computers to rocket fuel. Now a team of researchers led by Ross Howie, formerly of Edinburgh University and now based in China, has put hydrogen gas under such extreme pressure that it took on a previously unseen solid crystalline structure. The new structure had many of the properties that have been theoretically predicted for metallic hydrogen. To create the solid hydrogen, the team trapped roughly 1 µm3 of hydrogen gas between two diamonds that were pressed together with about 1 ton of force. That created pressures of more than 350 GPa, similar to the pressure at the center of Earth's core. In metallic hydrogen, the atoms would arrange themselves in such a way that they share electrons. However, Howie's team did not quite achieve that phase.

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