Scientists Very Close to Producing Metallic Hydrogen at the End of 80 Years of Search

Theorists have long predicted that at high pressures hydrogen can become metal. With a new study, it may have been a small step towards the breakthrough that scientists have been pursuing for 80 years. The new research has not been completed yet.

Scientists had predicted that for decades, hydrogen could become metal under high pressures. Hydrogen, which would exhibit metal properties under pressures of 4 million times the atmospheric pressure , was thought to transmit electricity as well. Researchers chasing this material have had questionable results over the years .

Researchers from the USA, Germany, and France studied the properties at this stage by compressing hydrogen at high pressures . A recent article published by these scientists show the strongest evidence ever obtained on metallic hydrogen. On the other hand, the research has not been completed yet .

Hydrogen changed from solid to metal

Physicist Eugene Paul Wigner argued that if pressure was applied to hydrogen 80 years ago, the element would first solidify and then become metal . It is quite difficult to apply pressures of this magnitude to prove the theory .

In a new study led by Paul Loubeyre of the French Atomic Energy Commission, hydrogen was compressed between the ends of the diamond with the help of a tool called a diamond anvil cell. The sample was then observed using infrared radiation in the SOLEIL electron accelerator .

It was observed that the hydrogen solidified and became visible light proof when the pressure of 300 GPa (300 billion pascal, atmospheric pressure at sea level was only 101 thousand 325 pascal ) was exceeded. At a temperature of 425 GPa and 80 degrees above absolute zero, hydrogen became impermeable to infrared rays. This is seen as evidence that hydrogen has changed from solid state to metal .

Scientists not sure about metallic hydrogen yet

Loubeyre noted that they are trying to verify that hydrogen does not leak from the end of the diamonds by reducing pressure and making new measurements . According to Loubeyre, their result is two: First, a relatively new diamond anvil cell was used. Its name is designed to withstand higher pressures compared to the toroidal (annular) diamond anvil cell and conventional diamond anvil cell. Second, a spectrometer measuring wavelength was also included in the experiment in SOLEIL . Thus, the chance to measure various properties of the hydrogen in the diamond simultaneously was obtained. 

Although the researchers have published their work in Nature yet definite as they claimed they had observed the metallic hydrogen. Scientists are content with saying "possible conversion to metal hydrogen". Due to the limits on the precision of their equipment, the researchers do not deny the possibility of a small generation gap. The belt gap is the small amount of input energy required to convert a material into a conductor . This means that, if indeed there is a generation gap, researchers have not yet demonstrated the creation of hydrogen metal they're not

However, Carnegie Institution for Science to Zack Geball, the work of hydrogen for a further investigation of the metallic properties touchstone move emphasizes that. Geballe believes that it is time to measure the electric current passing through the material by placing the electrode on both sides of the material. In an article written by another team led by Mikhail Eremets,  it is stated that hydrogen still remains solid at pressures from 350 GPa to 440 GPa

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