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Squeeze on hydrogen reveals complexity.

Squeeze on hydrogen reveals complexity

Hydrogen just ins't the simple element it's supposed to be. When incredibly pressed, it does not undergo the abrupt changes in conductivity--as it moves towards its metallic state -- that some scientists had predicted.

In the April 11 NATURE, physical chemist Russell J. Hemley and two colleagues at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (D.C.) report that instead of undergoing a dielectric catastrophe -- a phenomenon in which a material that didn't conduct electricity suddenly does -- hydrogen gains conductance slowly. To assess electron structure in this experiment, the researchers developed a new way to monitor the index of refraction -- how much light bends -- in hydgrogen compressed to 1.7 million atmospheres.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 20, 1991
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