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Colloquium: High Pressure Enabled Materials Physics

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John Badding, Pennsylvania State University
16 January 2014 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
117 Osmond Laboratory
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A unifying theme in our research is the use of pressure to synthesize or probe solid state materials. We are interested in materials that have unusual micro or nano structure or chemical/physical behavior and often apply them to problems of significant technological interest. Photonic materials, energy materials for photovoltaics, hydrogen storage and energy conversion, carbon materials, and high strength materials have been of particular interest. High pressure can dramatically electronic structure such that improved transport properties are realized, as exemplified by the doubling of the thermoelectric figure of merit of the best commercial thermoelectric semiconductor, antimony bismuth telluride, under pressure (collaboration with G. Mahan, PSU Physics).  Pressure can greatly alter the balance between intramolecular and intermolecular bonding in molecules containing unsaturated carbon double and triple bonds.  New low dimensional carbon nanomaterials such as sp3 bonded carbon nanothreads can then be formed through chemical reaction between planar benzene (C6H6) molecules (collaboration with V. Crespi, PSU Physics and the Carnegie Institution).  Finally, I will show how the small mean free paths in high pressure fluids allows for infiltration of templates to synthesize metalattices. Metalattices are ordered 3D lattices of materials with lattice constants of nm’s to 10’s of nm.  They could open up many opportunities for new physics when the structural order parameter of the lattice interacts with intrinsic electronic, vibrational, optical, and magnetic processes in semiconductors, insulators, metals, and intimate co-lattices of two disparate such materials (collaboration with G. Mahan, V. Crespi).

John Badding began his graduate work, which focused on the synthesis and characterization of phosphide magnetic materials, with Prof. A.M Stacy at the University of California, Berkeley. Following his Ph.D. in 1989, he became a Carnegie Fellow at the Geophysical Laboratory in Washington D.C., where he studied high pressure chemistry with H.K. Mao and R.J Hemley. Next he moved to Pennsylvania State University 1991, where he is now Professor of Chemistry. He is the recipient of NSF Young Investigator and David and Lucile Packard Foundation awards. His work is currently funded by DOE, NSF, the Air Force, and DARPA.