Static High Pressure Research

High Pressure research at the Institute for Shock Physics focuses on extreme materials research at the pressure-temperature conditions of the Earth’s and Joviant planetary interiors, where materials alter their properties in many fundamental ways and, thus, provide exciting opportunities to discover new materials, novel phenomena, and exotic states of matter- not present at ambient conditions. Examples including recently discovered stishovite-like carbon dioxide polymer, metallic hydrogen, superconducting lithium, superionic water, novel metal nitrides, superionic lithium nitrides, and many others. High-pressure research will ultimately establish a new Periodic Table of the elements and compounds with completely redefined chemical and physical properties and unveil a new materials order and governing rules.

This research in the Institute utilizes modern static and dynamic high-pressure technologies coupled with the state-of-the-art laser spectroscopy and the x-ray diffraction and x-ray spectroscopy at national synchrotron facilities.  Because materials often behave differently under static and dynamic compressions, an integrated approach of static and dynamic experiments over extended ranges of pressure, temperature, and strain rate is emphasized.

Materials of interest range from fundamental materials, such as quantum solids, molecular solids, covalent and ionic solids, and f-and d-electron metals, to functional materials, such as reactive nanoparticles, hydrogen storage materials, strongly correlated systems, and high energy density solids. Because of the multi-disciplinary nature of high pressure materials research, collaborations exist well beyond the Institute and include the Department of Chemistry, the Materials Science Program, and National Laboratories.

Representative Research Activities

  • Discoveries of new materials and novel states of matter at extreme pressure-temperature conditions
  • Thermo-mechanical properties (EOS, melting, phase transitions, crystal structures, etc.) of materials at high pressure-temperatures
  • Pressure induced electronic transitions in functional transition metals, alloys, and compounds
  • Chemical and physical changes of high energy density materials under static pressure
  • Effect of nonhydrostaticity on pressure induced structural and chemical changes