Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New record in materials research: 1 terapascals in a laboratory

22.07.2016

An international team of researchers headed by Prof. Dr. Natalia Dubrovinskaia and Prof. Dr. Leonid Dubrovinsky of the University of Bayreuth has succeeded in creating a pressure of 1 trillion pascals in a laboratory. A study published in Science Advances is opening up new research prospects in physics, solid state chemistry, materials science, geophysics, and astrophysics.

The extreme pressures and temperatures that can be achieved and controlled with great precision in a laboratory are ideal objects of investigation in physics, chemistry, and materials science. They allow the structures and properties of materials to be explained, new materials to be synthesized for industrial applications, new material states to be discovered, and a deeper understanding of materials to be achieved, thereby yielding insights into the structure and dynamics of Earth and other planets. For this reason, scientists around the world have a strong research interest in continuing to increase the amount of pressure generated in laboratories for purposes of material analysis.


Once the spherical nano-crystalline diamonds are split in two, the two halves are prepared for installation in a double-sided diamond anvil cell.

Electron microscope image: Leonid Dubrovinsky and Natalia Dubrovinskaia; free for publication as long as the source of the image is cited.

Until now, the 1-terapascal mark – i.e. 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) pascals – was considered a magic threshold. That’s three times higher than the pressure found in Earth’s core. As a point of comparison, it can be thought of as the pressure that would be exerted on a single penny if 100 Eiffel Towers were stacked on top of it.

It is this threshold which the international team of researchers headed by Prof. Dr. Natalia Dubrovinskaia and Prof. Dr. Leonid Dubrovinsky of the University of Bayreuth have now reached and even exceeded. The scientists have now revealed how they were able to break this record in the research magazine Science Advances.

International Research Cooperation

In addition to the Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry & Geophysics (BGI) and the University of Bayreuth’s Laboratory of Crystallography, numerous other research partners were involved: the Center for Advanced Radiation Sources at the University of Chicago, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, the University of Antwerp, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University in Kaliningrad. Key experiments were carried out by Bayreuth scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory, a research institute in Chicago under the leadership of the US Department of Energy.

Synthesized in the lab: ultra-hard diamond spheres

Spherical nano-crystalline diamonds have opened a door to a new dimension of materials research. Researchers at the University of Bayreuth synthesized these transparent spheres, each with a diameter of 10-20 micrometres, in a laboratory. As it turns out, they exhibit a highly unusual resistance to pressure due to their unique texture. They are extremely robust when external pressures are exerted on them.

The members of the research team exploited this property for the purpose of creating pressure in excess of 1 terapascal for experiments in materials science. Using a focused ion beam, they first split the ultra-hard diamond spheres in two. The two halves were then installed in a double-sided diamond anvil cell. With the material samples wedged in between being exposed to increasing pressures, they were x-rayed at the electron synchrotron facilities in Chicago. The diffraction pattern yielded by these technologically demanding investigations revealed that the threshold of 1 terapascal had been reached and even exceeded.

Inside the diamond anvil cell: materials tested at extremely high pressures

Diamond anvil cells have been used in high pressure and high temperature research for quite some time. In such research, the sample of the material to be investigated is placed between the two diamonds. These diamonds squeeze the material sample together from both sides resulting in pressure of up to 250 gigapascals.

A few years ago, this research technique was extended in a crucial way at the Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry & Geophysics (BGI) and the University of Bayreuth’s Laboratory of Crystallography. The double-sided diamond anvil cell constructed here enables much higher pressure levels to be achieved. This is due to the half nano-crystalline diamond attached to each of the two diamonds in the cell. The heads of the hemispheres are positioned exactly opposite one another. This allows them to transfer the extreme pressures exerted on them from the outer edges of the larger diamonds to the material samples between them without being destroyed. The key feature of this two-step process is that the pressure transferred to the material sample is multiplied. For the heads of the hemispheres that touch the material sample have a considerably smaller surface than their circular lower surfaces with which they are attached to the larger diamonds.

A key source of pressure resistance in nano-crystalline diamonds is their particle size. The nano-crystalline diamonds with which compression pressure in excess of 1 terapascal was achieved in two-step cells are between 2 and 15 nanometres.

Liquid and gaseous samples also investigated

The research finding that have now been published do not open up new possibilities in physical, chemical, and geo-scientific materials research solely in virtue of having exceeded the 1-terapascal mark. Special seals the scientists installed in the double-sided diamond anvil cell allow not only solid bodies, but also material samples in their original gas or liquid states to be analysed at pressures in excess of 1 terapascal.

Future research prospects

“We are very pleased that we – together with our research partners – were able to contribute to international high pressure and high temperature research in this way”, Prof. Dr. Natalia Dubrovinskaia said. The newly published research findings are expected to be highly relevant to many different branches of research, especially physics, solid state chemistry, materials science, geophysics, and astrophysics. Industry is also expected to benefit from the findings, for example in the development of new hydrogen technologies or high-performance superconductors.

From 4 to 9 September 2016, the European High Pressure Research Group (EHPRG) will convene at the University of Bayreuth for the organization’s annual conference. “New research prospects will, of course, also be a topic at the conference,” Prof. Dubrovinskaia said.

Research funding

The research in Germany was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and – as a collaborative research project – by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Collaborative research project funding is awarded to universities active in developing and establishing innovative methods and instruments for large research institutions. This enables the outstanding competencies of higher education institutions and non-university research institutions to be linked, thereby unlocking synergies.

Publication

Natalia Dubrovinskaia, Leonid Dubrovinsky et al.,
Terapascal Static Pressure Generation with Ultrahigh Yield Strength Nanodiamond,
Science Advances, 20 July 2016.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600341

High-resolution photos and illustrations
http://www.uni-bayreuth.de/de/universitaet/presse/pressemitteilungen/2016/116-re...

Contact

Prof. Dr. Natalia Dubrovinskaia
Laboratory of Crystallography
University of Bayreuth
D-95440 Bayreuth
Natalia.Dubrovinskaia@uni-bayreuth.de
Phone: +49 (0)92155 -3880 or -3881

Prof. Dr. Leonid Dubrovinsky
Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry & Geophysics (BGI)
University of Bayreuth
D-95440 Bayreuth
Leonid.Dubrovinsky@uni-bayreuth.de
Phone: +49 (0)92155 -3736 or -3707

Christian Wißler | Universität Bayreuth

Further reports about: Crystallography Radiation diamonds materials research temperature

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>