Research and study on the synthesis of materials in the terapascal range — ScienceDaily

Jules Verne couldn’t even dream of it: a research team from the University of Bayreuth, in collaboration with international partners, has pushed the limits of high-pressure and high-temperature research into cosmic dimensions. For the first time, they were able to simultaneously generate and analyze materials under compression pressures of more than one terapascal (1,000 gigapascals). Such extremely high pressures prevail, for example, in the center of the planet Uranus; they are more than three times greater than the pressure at the center of the Earth. In Naturethe researchers present the method they have developed for the synthesis and structural analysis of new materials.

Theoretical models predict very unusual structures and properties of materials under extreme pressure-temperature conditions. But so far, these predictions could not be verified in experiments at compression pressures above 200 gigapascals. On the one hand, complex technical requirements are needed to expose material samples to such extreme pressures, and on the other hand, sophisticated methods for simultaneous structural analyzes were lacking. The experiments published in Nature therefore open up whole new dimensions to high-pressure crystallography: it is now possible to create and study materials in the laboratory that exist – if at all – only under extremely high pressures in the atmosphere. immensity of the universe.

“The method we have developed allows us for the first time to synthesize new material structures in the terapascal range and analyze them in situ, i.e. while the experiment is still in progress. In this way , we learn about previously unknown states, properties and structures of crystals and can greatly deepen our understanding of matter in general.Valuable information can be gained for the exploration of terrestrial planets and the synthesis of functional materials used in technologies innovations,” explains Prof. Dr. Leonid Dubrovinsky of the Bavarian Geoinstitute (BGI) at the University of Bayreuth, the first author of the publication.

In their new study, the researchers show how they generated and visualized new rhenium compounds in situ using the now discovered method. The compounds in question are a new rhenium nitride (Re₇N₃) and a rhenium-nitrogen alloy. These materials were synthesized under extreme pressures in a two-stage diamond anvil cell heated by laser beams. Synchrotron single crystal X-ray diffraction allowed a complete chemical and structural characterization. “Two and a half years ago we were very surprised in Bayreuth when we were able to produce an extra-hard metal conductor based on rhenium and nitrogen which could withstand even extremely high pressures. If we apply crystallography at high pressure in the terapascal range in the future, we may make more startling discoveries in this direction. The doors are now wide open for creative materials research that generates and visualizes unexpected structures under extreme pressures. says the study’s lead author, Professor Natalia Dubrovinskaia of the Crystallography Laboratory at the University of Bayreuth.

In collaboration with the Bavarian Geoinstitute (BGI) and the Crystallography Laboratory of the University of Bayreuth, many other research partners have been involved in the research work published in Nature: the University of Cologne, the University of Linköping , the German electron synchrotron DESY in Hamburg, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble and the Center for Advanced Radiation Sources at the University of Chicago.

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