As Weird as They Come: Elemental Metals at High Pressure

General interest seminar

As Weird as They Come: Elemental Metals at High Pressure

  • Event time: 5:00pm
  • Event date: 29th November 2012
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Lecture Theatre A,

Event details

At ordinary conditions of pressure and temperature, most elemental metals crystalise in simple, high-symmetry, densely-packed crystal structures. Until some 15 years ago, all elemental crystals were assumed to adopt simple close-packed crystal structures at extreme compression, and little of interest was expected to happen at intermediate pressures.

This expectation has proved to be spectacularly wrong. Numerous elements across the periodic table are now known to adopt very complex crystal structures at high pressure, the archetypal simple metals lithium and sodium have been reported to become semiconductors in the megabar pressure range, and the heavier alkali metals have been predicted to become ferromagnetic under pressure. I will present an overview of experimental and computational research that has led to a dramatic change of our understanding of the structural and physical properties of elemental metals at high pressure.

Tea and doughnuts from 16.30.

Our General Interest Seminars are an opportunity for distinguished speakers to present new research in physics and related areas. The material presented is suitable for undergraduate level upwards and all members of the School are welcome to attend..

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