A sample of metallic hydrogen which was being kept in a lab at Harvard University had mysteriously vanished. A team of scientists from the University developed the first sample of this material last month. Metallic hydrogen is known for being super-conductive. Researchers have been working on its developing for more than 80 years.
- At Harvard University, researchers discovered that a sample of metallic hydrogen either degraded or vanished.
- Scientists have been working for more than 80 years to develop this material.
- They have compressed the hydrogen between two diamonds to obtain this result.
Back 1935, Hillard Bell Huntington and Eugene Wigner stated that hydrogen could be drawn up into metallic form only under high pressure. The team of scientists from Harvard managed to develop this material by comprising it between two diamonds. The sample they obtained was a few microns thin. The team had cooled down hydrogen reaching -430 degrees Fahrenheit.
A new report indicated that the metallic hydrogen sample has vanished from the lab or degraded. Scientists have kept the thin material in a diamond vice at zero temperature. Isaac Silvera, one of the physicists working on this project, stated that when the development of the material starts at low pressure, then the two atoms in the molecule are extremely close together.
Nevertheless, the molecules are very far apart from each other. In the end, they reach to get so close to one another that a proton from one molecule might oscillate between two molecules due to the closeness. Silvera also argued that the material might have turned into gas or it might just have shrunk, being somewhere at room pressure.
The validity of the metallic hydrogen sample is not compromised by its disappearance. Every scientist who is in charge of this kind of experiments is aware of the fact that it might end up being a failure. Silvera together with Ranga Dias, its research partner, noted that they would struggle to recreate the experiment and develop the material again.
These two scientists are confident about their investigation and the efforts they do to obtain the goal they have set. They also urged other scientists to work on producing this material due to the fact that they already know how they reached to obtain high pressures and material in a laboratory. Researchers have tested the reflective properties of these samples, and it indicated that the test was successful.
However, Silvera argued that it is not sufficient to establish reflection at one color of light or one wavelength. They have measured from the red, blue, green into the infrared.
Image courtesy of: flickr