Almost after a century when the concept of metallic hydrogen was theorized, a team of scientists working at Harvard successfully created one of the most potent and rarest materials that are present on this planet. The atomic metallic hydrogen was made by Thomas D. Cabot who is a professor in Natural Sciences Isaac Silvera along with a doctoral fellow named Ranga Dias. Apart from helping scientists answer questions pertaining to basic questions related with matter’s nature. This material was theorized with a wide range of applications like room temperature superconductors. Silvera says, “This is the holy grail of high-pressure physics. It’s the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you’re looking at it, you’re looking at something that’s never existed before.”
In order to create this sample, Dias and SIlvera contracted a very small hydrogen sample at 495 gigapascal which is much more than the pressure existing at Earth’s center. Silvera explains that at such extreme level temperatures the solidified molecular hydrogen has molecules located at the sites in the solid. It breaks down and most tightly bound molecules break down to turn into atomic hydrogen that is also a metal. This work offers a completely new insight into understanding of general characteristics of hydrogen, is also provides bright indications towards strong revolutionary new materials.
Silvera says further, “One prediction that’s very important is metallic hydrogen is predicted to be meta-stable. That means if you take the pressure off, it will stay metallic, similar to the way diamonds form from graphite under intense heat and pressure, but remains a diamond when that pressure and heat is removed.” It is important to understand the significance of material’s stability as predictions recommend that metallic hydrogen can behave as superconductor at normal temperature. Silvera further says, “That would be revolutionary. As much as 15 percent of energy is lost to dissipation during transmission, so if you could make wires from this material and use them in the electrical grid, it could change that story.”
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