Wait, Did Scientists Finally Create Metallic Hydrogen?

Scientists have used diamond anvils to compress hydrogen into a form they believe is metallic. In Nature, researchers from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) describe how their hydrogen sample changed into a form that acts like a metal.

The same researchers have been working toward metallic hydrogen for years. From the military department of the CEA, they first put this study online in September. After peer review, the study is now ready for prime time in Nature. In it, the scientists describe sealing supercooled solid hydrogen in foil to prevent escape and then bombarding it with extremely high pressure using a diamond anvil cell.

In previous, similar experiments, pressure was limited to about 400 gigapascals. With the recent development of a different shaped diamond anvil, which is a torus or donut instead of a flat surface, scientists can apply more pressure. It’s in this next zone, at 425 gigapascals, that the French research team observed the first metallic properties.

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