The Geophysical Laboratory’s Postdoctoral Associate Zachary Geballe has been honored with Carnegie’s seventh Postdoctoral Innovation and Excellence (PIE) Award. These prizes are made...
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Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, University of Bristol
Washington, DC— Experimental petrologist Michael Walter, currently head of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, has been selected as the eighth director of Carnegie’...
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Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science, Tim Strobel
Washington, DC— A team including several Carnegie scientists has developed a form of ultrastrong, lightweight carbon that is also elastic and electrically conductive. A material with such a...
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Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science
Washington, DC—Recovered minerals that originated in the deep mantle can give scientists a rare glimpse into the dynamic processes occurring deep inside of the Earth and into the history of the...
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Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science
Washington, DC—It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of silicon when it comes to computing, solar energy, and other technological applications. (Not to mention the fact that it...
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Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science
Washington, DC—Hydrogen is both the simplest and the most-abundant element in the universe, so studying it can teach scientists about the essence of matter. And yet there are still many...
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Carnegie Science, Carnegie Institution, Carnegie Institution for Science
Washington, DC— New work from a team including Carnegie’s Guoyin Shen and Yoshio Kono used high pressure and temperature to reveal a kind of “structural memory” in samples of...
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Simonkolleite [Zn5(OH)8Cl2·H2O] found on a copper mining artifact, Rowley mine, Maricopa County, Arizona.  Credit RRUFF.
Washington, DC—Human industry and ingenuity has done more to diversify and distribute minerals on Earth than any development since the rise of oxygen over 2.2 billion years ago, experts say in...
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The Geophysical Laboratory has made important advances in the growth of diamond by chemical vapor deposition (CVD).  Methods have been developed to produce single-crystal diamond at low pressure having a broad range of properties.
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Anat Shahar is pioneering a field that blends isotope geochemistry with high-pressure experiments to examine planetary cores and the Solar System’s formation, prior to planet formation, and how the planets formed and differentiated. Stable isotope geochemistry is the study of how physical and...
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Experimental petrologist Michael Walter became Director of the Geophysical Laboratory beginning April 1, 2018. The lab recently merged with the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism  forming the Earth and Planets Laboratory, where he was Deputy Director until January 2022, when he became...
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Alexander F. Goncharov's analyzes materials under extreme conditions such as high pressure and temperature using optical spectroscopy and other techniques to understand how matter fundamentally changes, the chemical processes occurring deep within planets, including Earth, and to understand and...
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Washington, D.C.--Phase transitions surround us—for instance, liquid water changes to ice when frozen and to steam when boiled. Now, researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science* have...
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As astronomers continue finding new rocky planets around distant stars, high-pressure physicists are considering what the interiors of those planets might be like and how their chemistry could differ...
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New work from a team led by Carnegie's Alexander Goncharov confirms that nitrogen, the dominant gas in Earth’s atmosphere, becomes a metallic fluid when subjected to the extreme pressure and...
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April 26, 2022

Washington, DC— New work from an international team led by Carnegie’s Alexander Goncharov synthesized a new material composed of six nitrogen atoms in a ring, bringing scientists one step closer to creating a long-theorized, pure-nitrogen solid that could revolutionize energy storage and propulsion. Their findings published last week in Nature Chemistry.

Nitrogen is one of the most common elements in the universe and is abundant in biochemical compounds.  It is notable for the extremely strong triple bond of its elemental form—when two nitrogen atoms join to form N2 gas. This attraction is so strong that despite the abundance of nitrogen in

Guided diamond nanothread synthesis illustrated by Samuel Dunning
March 2, 2022

Washington, DC— As hard as diamond and as flexible as plastic, highly sought-after diamond nanothreads would be poised to revolutionize our world—if they weren’t so difficult to make.

Recently, a team of scientists led by Carnegie’s Samuel Dunning and Timothy Strobel developed an original technique that predicts and guides the ordered creation of strong, yet flexible, diamond nanothreads, surmounting several existing challenges.  The innovation will make it easier for scientists to synthesize the nanothreads—an important step toward applying the material to practical problems in the future. The work was recently published in the Journal of the

Fullerene C60 purchased from Shutterstock
November 24, 2021

Washington, DC—Carnegie’s Yingwei Fei and Lin Wang were part of an international research team that synthesized a new ultrahard form of carbon glass with a wealth of potential practical applications for devices and electronics. It is the hardest known glass with the highest thermal conductivity among all glass materials. Their findings are published in Nature.

Function follows form when it comes to understanding the properties of a material. How its atoms are chemically bonded to each other, and their resulting structural arrangement, determines a material’s physical qualities—both those that are observable by the naked eye and those that are only revealed

Silicon in the periodic table courtesy of Shutterstock
June 3, 2021

Washington, DC—A team led by Carnegie’s Thomas Shiell and Timothy Strobel developed a new method for synthesizing a novel crystalline form of silicon with a hexagonal structure that could potentially be used to create next-generation electronic and energy devices with enhanced properties that exceed those of the “normal” cubic form of silicon used today.

Their work is published in Physical Review Letters.

Silicon plays an outsized role in human life. It is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. When mixed with other elements, it is essential for many construction and infrastructure projects. And in pure elemental form, it is

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The Geophysical Laboratory has made important advances in the growth of diamond by chemical vapor deposition (CVD).  Methods have been developed to produce single-crystal diamond at low pressure having a broad range of properties.

Anat Shahar is pioneering a field that blends isotope geochemistry with high-pressure experiments to examine planetary cores and the Solar System’s formation, prior to planet formation, and how the planets formed and differentiated. Stable isotope geochemistry is the study of how physical and chemical processes can cause isotopes—atoms of an element with different numbers of neutrons-- to separate (called isotopic fractionation). Experimental petrology is a lab-based approach to increasing the pressure and temperature of materials to simulate conditions in the interior Earth or other planetary bodies.

Rocks and meteorites consist of isotopes that contain chemical

Timothy Strobel subjects materials to high-pressures to understand chemical processes  and interactions, and to create new, advanced energy-related materials.

For instance, silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and a mainstay of the electronics industry. But normal silicon is not optimal for solar energy. In its conventional crystalline form, silicon is relatively inefficient at absorbing the wavelengths most prevalent in sunlight.  Strobel made a discovery that may turn things around.  Using the high-pressure techniques pioneered at Carnegie, he created a novel form of silicon with its atoms arranged in a cage-like structure. Unlike

Scientists simulate the high pressures and temperatures of planetary interiors to measure their physical properties. Yingwei Fei studies the composition and structure of planetary interiors with high-pressure instrumentation including the multianvil apparatus, the piston cylinder, and the diamond anvil cell. 

The Earth was formed through energetic and dynamic processes. Giant impacts, radioactive elements, and gravitational energy heated the  planet in its early stage, melting materials and paving the way for the silicate mantle and metallic core to separate.  As the planet cooled and solidified geochemical and geophysical “fingerprints” resulted from

Sally June Tracy applies cutting-edge experimental and analytical techniques to understand the fundamental physical behavior of materials at extreme conditions. She uses dynamic compression techniques with high-flux X-ray sources to probe the structural changes and phase transitions in materials at conditions that mimic impacts and the interiors of terrestrial and exoplanets. She is also an expert in nuclear resonant scattering and synchrotron X-ray diffraction. She uses these techniques to understand novel behavior at the electronic level.  Tracy received her Ph.D. from the California Institute of