Researchers have always believed that at the core of gas giants (such as Saturn and Jupiter), which are mainly formed of hydrogen and helium, hydrogen can become a metal. Because of the many applications, it would provide, it was their long-lived dream to find a method to bring into existence a synthetic form of metallic hydrogen.
There is a known way to create metallic hydrogen, but in the last 80 years since the theory was first formulated, nobody was able to succeed. The method seems straightforward enough: hydrogen atoms are compressed utilizing a diamond anvil long sufficient for them to alter their state. But it isn’t easy, and it isn’t simple. Not until now.
Paul Dumas, Paul Loubeyre and Florent Occelli claimed that they succeeded the so far impossible deed. The three French researchers, which are part of the Division of Military applications (DAM) at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission and the Synchrotron SOLEIL research laboratory, uploaded a study in which they illustrated their research. The title of their study is ‘Observation of a first order phase transition to metal hydrogen near 425 GPa’ and, as it is normal, received mixed reactions by their peers.
French scientists announced that they finally created metallic hydrogen
To produce the metallic hydrogen, the French scientists used a diamond anvil where the diamond was shaped in the form of a torus which allowed the pressure limit to increase up to 600 GPa. They also operated the infrared spectrometer they designed whose role was to evaluate the hydrogen sampling. The moment the sample was put under 425 PGA pressure and experienced a temperature of -193 degrees Celsius (-316 degrees Fahrenheit) the hydrogen took in the infrared radiation, which could only mean that it became solid.
As there were many skeptics, there were others that showed their approval on the study and were ready to confirm the results. Among the latter, are professor Maddury Somayazulu, a researcher at the Argonne National Laboratory, and Alexander Goncharov, a scientist at Carnegie Institute for Science’s Geophysical Laboratory.
Some of the attributes of metallic hydrogen are that it supposedly is a great conductor and is meta-stable, attributes that could come in handy in the electronics evolution. Also, space scientists could study how things are inside gas giants without being obligated to send probes into space.