Metallic hydrogen was an extremely coveted myth among scientists. Many experts tried to obtain this valuable matter for the last eight decades, but the mission proved as impossible as that of turning metal into gold. However, it was only last month when the mystery behind this transformation was finally cracked down by a team of scientists at Harvard University. This substance activates a phase of hydrogen that is capable of behaving exactly like an electrical conductor. However, scientists announced that the precious metal disappeared from their lab.
The team at Harvard University was the first one who has ever managed to synthesize a solid metallic hydrogen in their laboratory. The procedure was possible thanks to the force exercised by a diamond anvil. Scientists reported that once they applied a pressure of 495 Gpa, the hydrogen started changing its color from transparent to a reflective metal. In the end, the result shared properties to those of a metal and measured just several microns.
However, new reports announced that the sample of metallic hydrogen is no longer present in the laboratory. The team made sure the precious hydrogen was kept inside a diamond vice under special conditions of absolute zero temperature. One team member, physicist Isaac Silvera, described the transformation process for people to understand what might have happened.
In its natural state, hydrogen has its molecules far away from each other while their own atoms are close to one another. When an extremely high pressure is applied, the protons in molecules have no other choice than to bond with others. This is why it was his opinion that the sample either remained in the laboratory at room pressure or it returned to its gas form again.
Silvera ended his statement by protecting the validity of the study. He stated that this reversion back to its original state is a common phenomenon among such experiments based on high pressure. The sublimation of the new matter is no proof that the study wasn’t successful. The Harvard team is going to reproduce the experiment once more and obtain another such sample.
If the metallic hydrogen becomes a sustainable and steady matter, scientists can use it to replace low-temperature superconductors. These can be used in their turn for upgrading MRI scanners. Metallic hydrogen might also be powerful enough to be a viable rocket fuel.
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