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Metallic Hydrogen Sample Mysteriously Disappears: Report
Metallic Hydrogen sample created by Harvard University research team has disappeared mysteriously from the lab. Harvard researchers created first ever sample of metallic hydrogen last month. Metallic hydrogen showcases superconductivity and scientists have been working on producing it for the last eight decades. In year 1935, physicists Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington claimed that hydrogen could exist in metallic form under high pressure. Harvard research team was able to produce metallic hydrogen by squeezing it between two diamonds.
The sample produced by Harvard researchers was extremely thin, measuring in microns. The research team cooled hydrogen just below -430 degrees Fahrenheit.
New reports suggest that the metallic hydrogen sample has disappeared or degraded. The micron-thin sample was kept in a diamond vice at absolute zero temperature.
Isaac Silvera, a physicist working on the project, informed, "When you start out at very low pressure, the two atoms in the molecule are very close together. And the molecules themselves are very, very far apart. And finally, they get so close that a proton in one molecule can't decide ‘should I stay bonded to this other one, or should I bond with my neighbor?"
Talking about disappearing act, Silvera said, “It's either someplace at room pressure, very small, or it just turned back into a gas.”
"This disappearance doesn't say anything about the validity of the sample. Anyone who does high pressure works knows that you have failures like this," Silvera added.
Silvera and his research partner Ranga Dias said that they are working on recreating the experiment to produce metallic hydrogen once again.
As per Tech Times report, “Silvera and Dias are confident about their work and even urged other teams to try to reproduce the experiment as they have already shown how they achieved the high pressures and material in the lab.”
They tested the sample’s reflective properties, and according to Silvera, it passed with flying colors: “It's not enough to measure reflection at one wavelength or one color of light. But we measured from the green, blue, red and into the infrared. And we find exactly the behavior that you would expect for a metal.”
Right now, the speck-sized sample remains under high pressure in its diamond vice. But a number of beguiling predictions have been made about metallic hydrogen’s properties, and Rivera is excited to eventually test them. For one, it’s thought that metallic hydrogen could be metastable.