It was just last month that Harvard researchers were able to finally create metallic hydrogen to achieve the “holy grail of high-pressure physics”. The metallic hydrogen is a form of hydrogen that can conduct electricity at room temperature without resistance. And now the only sample of the metallic hydrogen is missing from the lab.
The scientists waited for over eight decades to create the sample which was the only known sample of the metallic hydrogen has now disappeared, reported the researchers. They don’t even know what exactly happened to the sample. The metallic hydrogen sample was stored in a laboratory at a temperature close to zero in a diamond vice. The sample has either degraded or was misplaced, the researchers said.
Silvera and Ranga Dias, the researchers from Harvard said that their team was able to create the metallic hydrogen sample by compressing the hydrogen atoms at an extremely highly pressure of 495 gigapascals in a diamond anvil. The duo was preparing for a new experiment to replicate the pressure they were able to create on the first go. They revealed that they used a low-pressure laser to measure the pressure earlier this month and its energy destroyed the diamond vice. Silvera says it to have shattered as if it was baking soda.
Many other scientists and researchers do not believe what the duo says to have achieved. Geophysicist Alexander Goncharov wasn’t convinced that the material produced by the Harvard scientists was actually hydrogen. While some others say that the duo overestimated the achieved pressure level. They have asked Silvera and Dias to redo the measurements to clear all the doubts.
However, the duo is quite confident about their work and have already asked their teams to reproduce the experiment as they believe to be able to get those high-pressure levels and material in the lab.