Volume 3 Issue 7, July 2007

Volume 3 Issue 7

In the laboratory, under the highest currently attainable pressure, hydrogen solidifies but remains insulating even though theoretical calculations suggest it should be metallic (and perhaps superconducting). Higher-pressure studies will settle this question. In the meantime. the actual atomic structures of the highpressure phases of hydrogen are the subject of debate. Part of the problem is the paucity of experimental data to constrain theoretical calculations, for which huge tracts of phase space must be searched for possible structures. To reduce the effort, Chris Pickard and Richard Needs have come up with a computational approach that optimizes the enthalpy as a function of the atomic configuration. Their candidate structure for phase III hydrogen is not only stable and insulating but agrees with available experimental evidence, thus revising the phase diagram of the simplest element.

[Letter p473] ; [News and Views p452]


  • Editorial |

    Of course we're pleased. We want to shout it from the rooftops. Nature Physics has its first impact factor, and it's a good one.


Books & Arts

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    The destruction of particles is normally associated with high-energy physics and particle detectors. But in solid-state physics the destruction of particles, or rather quasiparticles, is taking place routinely in standard laboratories.

    • Nigel E. Hussey
  • News & Views |

    That the magnetic orientation of ferromagnets can be changed using magnetic fields has been known for centuries. But the exploration of magnetization control without any additional magnetic field has only just begun.

    • Thomas J. Silva
  • News & Views |

    Advances in theoretical computation raise again the possibility that 'maximal supergravity' might be free of the ultraviolet divergences that have plagued quantum gravity theories — with puzzling implications for string theory.

    • Kellogg Stelle
  • News & Views |

    Owing to difficulties in directly detecting them, the number of extremely obscured black holes in the universe is unknown. Measurements of the cosmic X-ray background shed light on this mystery.

    • Yoshihiro Ueda
  • News & Views |

    Computational condensed-matter physics acquires a novel compass in the search for unknown stable structures. This global phase-space search algorithm demonstrates its power in solving the complex high-pressure phases of hydrogen.

    • Tadashi Ogitsu
  • News & Views |

    Coexisting superconductivity and ferromagnetism due to itinerant electrons is unusual, but even among them URhGe stands out. Its surprising behaviour could help reveal the underlying physics of ferromagnetic superconductors.

    • Gilbert G. Lonzarich




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