Lawrence Livermore lab aims to find metallic properties in hydrogen

Courtesy of LLNL
Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) National Ignition Facility are studying the transformative nature of hydrogen at high pressures.

The lab said it has been hypothesized that the element can become metallic in extremely high-pressure environments.

“Hydrogen properties are still puzzling,” LLNL physicist Marius Millot said. “In particular, back in 1935, it was predicted that hydrogen should become metallic at sufficiently high pressure, but using static compression, our colleagues have yet to find clear evidence for metallization at room temperature.”

Researchers hope that through their work, they will find the temperature and pressure environments required for hydrogen to take on metallic properties.

“As we explore a totally new region of the pressure-temperature phase diagram, our data could have an important impact for basic condensed-matter theory and numerical methods,” Millot said. “In addition, our work has implications for gaining a better understanding of gas-giant planets and exoplanets.”

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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