PhD project: Accessing Planetary Interior Conditions Through Rapid Compression

Project description

Element number one, hydrogen, is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe. The relative abundance is reflected in the gas giant Jupiter, where under extreme pressures and temperatures, hydrogen exists in a dense metallic fluid state. It has long been predicted that such a metallic state could also be realised at considerably lower temperatures, whereby the molecular solid would dissociate under compression into an atomic metal. With the development of modern quantum mechanics, this metallic state is expected to exhibit a whole host of fascinating properties at high pressure, from room temperature superconductivity, to a novel superfluid. Reaching these conditions has been the principal scientific driver in high-pressure research and inspires many from interdisciplinary fields of science.

This PhD project will utilize emerging technologies to push the pressure-temperature boundaries in the experimental laboratory to explore insulator-to-metal transitions in molecular materials. PhD students will use a dynamic diamond anvil cell to rapidly compress to ultra-high pressures and combine with a host of high-temperature techniques to synthesise novel states. Research will be conducted using state-of-the-art time resolved spectroscopy systems in the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions (CSEC), and complementary diagnostics at synchrotron facilities worldwide.

Project supervisor

  • (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)

The project supervisor welcomes informal enquiries about this project.

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