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Materials Physics

A wide range of problems in materials physics from ambient to extreme conditions are investigated. These include condensed matter studies as a function of pressure and temperature as well the development of new potentially useful materials.

The Geophysical Laboratory has made important advances in the growth of diamond by chemical vapor deposition (CVD).  Methods have been developed to produce single-crystal diamond at low pressure having a broad range of properties. Video- "Growing Synthetic Diamonds"

Ferroelectrics are very interesting not only in their manifold useful applications, but also are very interesting in their fundamental physics. What makes these materials so extraordinarily sensitive to applied electrical and stress fields? How can their properties be optimized? Can we design new materials that have better properties?

Scientists have found that in addition to chemical manipulation, superconductivity can be induced by high pressure in high-temperature superconductors. The high critical temperatures on record were first measured here (164 K). 

Materials Physics News


Nagoya, Japan, 11 May 2016—Ronald Cohen was an invited speaker at the AMTC5 workshop in Nagoya May 11-13, 2016 and spoke on "Strong Coupling Ferroelectrics, How They Work and How They Can Be Improved."  He then visited ELSI (Earth and Life Sciences Institute) at Tokyo Tech and spoke on “First-principles studies of the deep Earth.”

Washington, D.C., 18 March 2016—Geophysical Laboratory team Tim Strobel, Venkat Bhadram, and alum DuckYoung Kim, has discovered a new transition metal, titanium pernitride, TiN2, which is ultraincompressible and could be a potential superhard material.

New work by the Geophysical Laboratory's Kadek Hemawan and team has resulted in a method for synthesizing diamond at atmospheric pressure with a microwave capillary technique.