French physicists from the Commissariat for Atomic and Alternative Energy have confirmed the conditions for the existence of an exotic form of matter. We are talking about a phase transition of hydrogen, resulting in the formation of metallic hydrogen - a substance believed to be located in the bowels of gas giant planets. This was announced in a press release on Phys.org.
For a long time, it was believed that at a sufficiently high pressure, hydrogen would turn into metal, but scientists did not know exactly what pressure would be required for this. Although different theories predicted different meanings, in recent years physicists have come to a consensus that the phase transition pressure should be as high as 425 billion pascals. Until now, however, it was technically impossible to carry out such an experiment.
In the new work, a team of scientists has perfected a diamond anvil cell, in which two diamonds are used to compress a sample to extreme values. This allowed them to reach a pressure of 600 gigapascals. To observe the sample, the physicists used a beam of infrared light that was passed through the device. In the event of the formation of metallic hydrogen, it should have been reflected.
It turned out that the compressed samples blocked all infrared and visible light. To confirm the result, physicists plan to repeat the experiment, but at the same time check if the sample will conduct electricity, which is predicted for metallic hydrogen.