Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Metal Discovered To Become Transparent Under High Pressure

Date:
March 14, 2009
Source:
Stony Brook University
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a transparent form of the element sodium (Na). They were able to demonstrate that sodium defies normal physical expectations by going transparent under pressure.

Sodium, a white metal at pressures below 1.5 Mbar (left -- picture at 1.1 Mbar, 1 Mbar = 1 million atmospheres), turns black at 1.5 Mbar (center -- picture at 1.56 Mbar) and becomes red transparent at 1.9 Mbar (right -- picture at 1.99 Mbar). It is predicted to become colorless and transparent like glass at ~3 Mbar.
Credit: Image courtesy of Stony Brook University

An international team of scientists have discovered a transparent form of the element sodium (Na). The team, led by Artem Oganov, Professor of Theoretical Crystallography at Stony Brook University, and Yanming Ma, the lead author and professor of physics at Jilin University in China, was able to demonstrate that sodium defies normal physical expectations by going transparent under pressure.

Related Articles


“It is well known that at sufficiently high compression all materials must go metallic,” said Oganov. “This is seen in the metallization of hydrogen at high pressures and temperatures inside planets Jupiter and Saturn.”

However, as the researchers found, element sodium does just the opposite. A perfect white metal at atmospheric pressure, on increasing pressure sodium first turns black, then (at the pressure of 2 million atmospheres) red transparent, and eventually becomes a colorless transparent material – just like glass.

“This fundamental result is important for understanding properties of highly compressed matter, particularly within stars and giant planets,” said Oganov.

The unexpected transformation was first predicted by Professor Ma. His sophisticated calculations clearly indicated that sodium adopts unusual crystal structures and becomes an insulator at high pressures. Together with Professor Oganov, Ma was able to demonstrate that, at very high compressions, overlapping sodium atoms force their outer electrons into the “holes” between the atoms.

“In these holes electrons demonstrate an extremely localized behavior, responsible for the collapse of the metallic state,” said Ma. “These electrons behave as ‘fake atoms,’ just like in electrides - ionic compounds where the role of the anion is played by localized electrons.”

To test this unexpected prediction, Ma and Oganov contacted Mikhail Eremets, the leader of an experimental group at Max Planck Institute of Chemistry, Mainz (Germany). Eremets was initially skeptical of the Ma-Oganov predictions, yet he was undeterred by extreme technical challenges of reaching pressures of over 2 million atmospheres. Eremets and his group initiated a cohort of several extremely difficult experiments, using a tiny micrometer-size sample. Through these experiments, the group was able to confirm the predictions of a new structure and transparency of sodium.

“What fascinated us most is that the pressures at which this transformation was predicted were experimentally reachable,” Oganov said, “and that at these conditions such a remarkable change of chemistry occurs”.

The results are published in the March 12 edition of the journal Nature.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stony Brook University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stony Brook University. "Metal Discovered To Become Transparent Under High Pressure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090312180838.htm>.
Stony Brook University. (2009, March 14). Metal Discovered To Become Transparent Under High Pressure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090312180838.htm
Stony Brook University. "Metal Discovered To Become Transparent Under High Pressure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090312180838.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dutch Architects Show Off 3D House-Building Prowess

Dutch Architects Show Off 3D House-Building Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Dutch architects are constructing a 3D-printed canal-side home, which they hope will spark an environmental revolution in the house-building industry. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Plane Stops in China

Solar Plane Stops in China

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Solar Impulse 2 stops over in China&apos;s Chonqing, completing the fifth leg in its bid to become the first solar powered plane to travel around the globe. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Impulse Lands in China After 20-Hour Flight from Myanmar

Solar Impulse Lands in China After 20-Hour Flight from Myanmar

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) Solar Impulse 2 lands in China, the world&apos;s biggest carbon emitter, completing the fifth leg of its landmark global circumnavigation powered solely by the sun. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) Industrious 3D printed bionic ants working together could toil in the factories of the future, says German technology company Festo. The robotic insects cooperate and coordinate their actions and movements to achieve a common aim. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins