With the rapid advances of the past decade in ultrahigh-pressure x-ray synchrotron technology, researchers are now able to tackle some of the most fundamental, long-standing questions regarding Earth and planetary interiors. What is the origin of seismic anisotropy in the inner core? What is the source of the enigmatic seismic features at the core-mantle boundary? How did the core and mantle differentiate in the early Earth?
NanoTXM within a DAC has exciting potential as a powerful 3D probe for non-destructive, nanoscale (<40nm) resolution of multiple crystalline and amorphous phases which are synthesized under extreme conditions. The ability to tune the incident energy range allows access to elemental edges for near edge scans to map coordination and oxidation states, and provide quantitative composition information within the sample. We have made significant progress in making this technique more accessible through our efforts at beamline 6-2c at SSRL.
Extreme environments provide a much broader arena in which to search for materials with desirable properties. This is an emerging field which holds great promise for the discovery of unique materials. My group has been focusing on a number of different energy related systems including hybrid halide perovskites, transition metal chalcogenides, carbon-based nanomaterials and some disordered systems.
A shockwave is the fastest mechanical loading we can achieve and provides a nearly instantaneous change in thermodynamic conditions. The unshocked and shock-compressed materials are assumed to be in equilibrium via application of the Rankine-Hugoniot relations. However, at the shock-front itself, the interface between shocked and unshocked, the material is always far from equilibrium, at a maximum entropy condition. Our current approach uses a pump-probe technique to reach extreme pressures and temperatures and observe material response at this far from equilibrium state.