The team's pressure-based technique involves a diamond-anvil cell that can subject materials to pressures thousands or even millions of times greater than external atmospheric pressures.
When the pressure in the diamond-anvil cell reaches at least 150,000 atmospheres -- corresponding to the pressure about 250 miles below the Earth's surface -- the aluminum and phosphate ions edge away from their crystalline sites into an amorphous arrangement.
First, they injected a small sample of nitrogen gas into a disk-shaped chamber inside a diamond-anvil cell
The team used a diamond-anvil cell
to bring the noble gases helium, neon, argon, and xenon to more than 100,000 times the pressure of Earth's atmosphere (15-52 gigapascals), and used a laser to heat them to temperatures ranging up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (about 28,000 degrees Kelvin).
They combined ingredients for this so-called abiotic synthesis of methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, in a diamond-anvil cell
and monitored in-situ the progress of the reaction.
and his colleagues loaded a microscopic sample of solid sodium into a diamond-anvil cell
, a viselike device capable of generating extreme pressure.
Piermarini, An Optical Fluorescence System for Quantitative Pressure Measurement in the Diamond-Anvil Cell
Although experiments at room temperature in small containment chambers made of diamond, called diamond-anvil cells
, brought hydrogen stably to pressures exceeding 2 million atmospheres, evidence of electrical conductivity never turned up-leaving scientists both frustrated and perplexed.
Experiments will be performed using cutting-edge techniques such as diamond-anvil cells
and high-power heating lasers together with concurrent complementary characterization techniques, such as Raman spectroscopy or x-ray diffraction in synchrotron radiation facilities.