Researchers created world’s first sample of metallic hydrogen last month, and now it has disappeared. Scientists all around the globe got shocked when Harvard researchers turned 80-year-old theory into reality and are disappointed as they have now lost the “holy grail of high-pressure physics”.
Harvard team that created the metallic hydrogen sample measuring 1.5 micrometres thick and 10 micrometres in diameter, has revealed that they have lost the sample due to some changes in the pressure. Scientists stored the sample at very low temperature minus 193 degrees Celsius and at incredibly high pressures between two diamonds, which was very difficult to maintain and slight changes in the pressures might have forced the sample to disappear.
“Basically, its disappeared. Its either someplace at room pressure, very small, or it just turned back into a gas. We dont know,” team leader Isaac F Silvera was quoted as saying by ScienceAlert.
“Were preparing a new experiment to see if we can reproduce the pressures we achieved the first time, and reproduce our metallic hydrogen,” said Silvera
The research team at the Harvard University lead by Dias and Silvera explained that a DAC (diamond anvil cell) was used for this purpose that is capable of withstanding pressures as high as 495 GigaPascals. The DAC was chilled to a temperature of about minus 270 Celsius. At this temperature and pressure conditions, they observed that the material inside the diamond anvil began to show properties that are usually displayed by metals.
When the pressure was further increased the shiny surface that had began to form inside started transforming into a transparent solid molecular substance. On further increase of pressure with the temperature kept constant, the above substance started turning black and thus implying that this substance could be a semiconductor and hence capable of absorbing light.
This nature of the hydrogen, as discovered by the research team at Harvard wasn’t quite well received with others in the scientific community. Given the fact that such a discover can spell as the huge breakthrough in the research and development, even if the findings of the DAC are found to be credible, a lot of challenge remain to be addressed. One of the major challenges would include the procurement and storage of this metastable hydrogen form. The advantages of this wonder material do outweigh the demerits it currently faces on the various production fronts.