Techniques - high-pressure synthesis

Large volume presses, including piston cylinders, multi-anvils, and auxiliary tools to synthesize samples at pressures greater than 20 GPa and temperatures greater than 2,000°C are available.

The multi-anvil laboratory has specialized equipment for treating a variety of samples under high pressure and temperature. For many chemical compounds, this pressure treatment creates unique, dense forms that are otherwise unattainable. The best-known application of simultaneous high pressure and temperature is in the production of synthetic diamonds.

In our laboratory, we can make diamonds, but we can also reach pressures up to five times higher than the pressure that is normally used to make diamonds. With this capability, we can perform a wide variety of novel research using high pressures. Many of the experiments we perform in our three multi-anvil presses are "cook and look.” In other words, we subject samples to high pressure and temperature, but we can examine them only after the pressure is released. Typical methods used to examine high-pressure products include x-ray diffraction, electron probe microanalysis and transmission electron microscopy. Typical sample sizes are in the millimeter range. We also have equipment for measuring electrical conductivity and impedance on samples while they are subjected to high pressure and temperature.