About the Geophysical Laboratory

The Geophysical Laboratory was established in 1905 to investigate the processes that control the composition and structure of the Earth as it was known at the time, including developing the underlying physics and chemistry and creating the experimental tools required for the task. Over a century later, this core mission has expanded to include the physics, chemistry, and biology of the Earth over the entire range of conditions our planet has experienced since its formation, as well as parallel studies of other planets of this and other solar systems from their surfaces to their cores.

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News

Materials

Washington, DC—It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of silicon when it comes to computing, solar energy, and other technological applications. (Not to mention the fact that it makes up an awful lot of the Earth’s crust.) Yet there is still so much to learn about how to harness the capabilities of element number 14.

The most-common form of silicon crystallizes in the same structure as diamond. But other forms can be created using different processing techniques. New work led by the Geophysical Laboratory's Tim Strobel and published in Physical Review Letters shows that one form of silicon, called Si-III (or sometimes BC8), which is synthesized using a high-pressure process, is what’s called a narrow band gap semiconductor.

High Pressure

Washington, DC— New work from a team including the Geophysical Laboratory's Guoyin Shen and Yoshio Kono used high pressure and temperature to reveal a kind of “structural memory” in samples of the metal bismuth, a discovery with great electrical engineering potential.

Bismuth is a historically interesting element for scientists, as a number of important discoveries in the metal physics world were made while studying it, including important observations about the effect of magnetic fields on electrical conductivity. 

Department

On Tuesday, 9 May 2017, the Geophysical Laboratory and DTM employees gathered at the Greenewalt buildilng to present recent results to one another using posters and demonstrations for the Third Annual Broad Branch Road Poster Session!

Matter at Extreme States

Washington, DC— A team led by the Geophysical Laboratory's Yingwei Fei, a experimental petrologist, and Cheng Xu, a field geologist from Peking University, has discovered that a rare sample of the mineral majorite originated at least 235 miles below Earth’s surface.

Geochemistry

GL's Bjorn Mysen is currently in Japan for JPGU/AGU 2017, where he will serve as convener for the session on:”Fluid-mediated Processes near Convergent Plate Boundaries.”

While there, the Japanese Geoscience Union formally appointed Bjorn a Fellow of the JPGU together with a handful of others, including former GL postdoctoral fellow, Kei Hirose.