Extreme Environments Laboratory
Launched with renovation and equipment support from the Chevron Corporation, Assistant Professor Wendy Mao's Extreme Environments Laboratory investigates the behavior of a wide range of materials under high pressure. This includes studying iron-rich compounds and alloys, which are major components of the Earth’s mantle and core, at the high pressures and temperatures within our planet. Working with petrologists, geochemists, seismologists, and geodynamicists, they hope to better understand the rich array of large-scale processes and phenomena in the Earth’s deep interior. The group also utilizes high pressure to study the volatile gases and ices that are the key constituents of the gas giant planets and their icy satellites. Some of the newly discovered phases may lead to practical applications such as hydrogen fuel storage. The Mao group uses a suite of laboratory and synchrotron radiation techniques for characterizing materials in-situ at extreme conditions.