Metallic Hydrogen Sample Mysteriously Disappears

Rodiano Bonacci
Febbraio 27, 2017

The Metallic Hydrogen sample which was created by Harvard University research team has suddenly got disappeared from the lab and left a question behind how this all happened?

However, the team has now announced that the sample has disappeared. "The name 'Metallic Hydrogen" came in highlight when Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington (Physicists) in the year 1935 claimed that Hydrogen can exist in Metallic form also under high pressure.

The sample was only around 1.5 micrometers thick and 10 micrometers in diameter - a fifth the diameter of a strand of human hair.

"This is the holy grail of high-pressure physics", Harvard physicist Isaac Silvera, one of the study's authors, said at that time. "We don't know", team leader Isaac F Silvera was quoted as saying by ScienceAlert. This material was discovered to be a superconductor of electricity as it does not have any resistance even at room temperature.

Metallic hydrogen could also be used to create super-efficient electric vehicle batteries. It is considered to be the holy grail of physics. They put it under an extremely high temperature of 495 gigapascals. "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".

Scientists have been working for more than 80 years to develop this material.

Understanding whether the material is stable is important, Silvera said, because predictions suggest metallic hydrogen could act as a superconductor at room temperatures. According to Silvera, the metallic hydrogen could be useful in everything from our electrical grid to hospital MRI machines. The advantages of this wonder material do outweigh the demerits it now faces on the various production fronts.

Ranga Dias, a research partner with Silvera said we will work again on creating the sample.

'That would easily allow you to explore the outer planets, ' Silvera said.

The metallic hydrogen the researchers created was stored in a laboratory at a temperature close to absolute zero in a diamond vice but now, researchers said that sample was either misplaced or degraded.

The researchers said that they are preparing a new experiment to see if they can reproduce the pressure they achieved the first time that they were able to produce the metallic hydrogen.

"I immediately said we have to make the measurements to confirm it, so we rearranged the lab... and that's what we did", he said. However, it seems that the diamond vice was destroyed in the process, which was discovered by measuring the pressure of the system with a low-pressure laser.

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