Hydrogen, the most common element in the universe, is normally an insulating gas, but at high pressures it may turn into a superconductor.
Now, scientists at the Carnegie Institution in Washington D.C., US, have discovered a hydrogen-based compound that could be helpful in the search for metallic and superconducting forms of hydrogen.
The results are reported in Physical Review Letters and highlighted in the August 3rd issue of APS's on-line journal Physics (physics.aps.org).
Hydrogen is the simplest of the elements: it contains one proton and one neutron. Because hydrogen is so light, quantum theory says that it will have a significant energy even when it is cooled to very low temperatures. This is why hydrogen only solidifies at just 14 degrees above absolute zero.
Scientists predicted that it should be possible to form a metal from hydrogen, but the pressure that would be required to do so – some 4 million atmospheres – exceeds that at the center of the earth. By forming compounds of hydrogen with another element like Si it is possible to make fairly dense forms of hydrogen that do become metals at more experimentally accessible pressures. In fact, SiH4 becomes a metal at about one tenth the pressure needed to make pure hydrogen metallic, and a superconductor at about 1 million atmospheres.
In their paper, Timothy Strobel, Maddury Somayazulu, and Russell Hemley present extensive high-pressure experiments on a mixture of SiH4 and H2. At pressures of only ~ 7.5 GPa, they discovered a new compound – SiH4(H2)2 – in which the hydrogen bonds are unusually weak and which may become a metal at higher pressures.
The ultimate goal of such studies is to generate conditions under which hydrogen effectively becomes metallic, and hopefully superconducting, at pressures lower than those required for pure solid hydrogen.
James Riordon | EurekAlert!
New manifestation of magnetic monopoles discovered
08.12.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
NASA's SuperTIGER balloon flies again to study heavy cosmic particles
07.12.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
05.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Life Sciences
08.12.2017 | Information Technology
08.12.2017 | Information Technology