Physics Colloquium: New Findings in Materials in Extreme Environments

Prof. Russell J. Hemley, School of Engineering and Applied Science, The George Washington University

Extreme pressures and temperatures produce profound effects on structure, bonding and electronic character of atoms and molecules, molding matter to make new materials. A growing number of novel materials and phenomena are being documented over the broad range of conditions using both static and dynamic multimegabar (e.g., >300 GPa) pressures that can now be generated in the laboratory. The results are leading to altogether new structures, electronic phenomena and potentially useful materials, with implications for condensed matter physics, geophysics, planetary physics, astrophysics, and at more modest conditions even biophysics. Because of its quantum character and putatively simple electronic structure, the behavior of hydrogen has been of particular interest. Recent studies of hydrogen have uncovered new transformations to increasingly metallic states in both the solid and fluid using static and dynamic compression methods to multimegabar pressures. There have also been important recent findings in hydrogen-rich systems in a variety of chemical environments at these conditions. Most notable is our discovery of a new class of materials – superhydrides – and the observation of near room-temperature superconductivity in these systems, specifically lanthanum superhydrides with a Tc up to 280 K near 200 GPa.

Tuesday, November 27 at 3:15pm

Regents Hall, 109
3700 O St. NW

Event Type

Academic Events


Students, Faculty/Staff


Georgetown College, Physics




Prof. Russell J. Hemley, George Washington University

Event Contact Name

Edward Van Keuren

Event Contact Email

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