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Matter at extremes

Group head: M. Mezouar

This group covers all classical domains of natural sciences with a significant impact in applied fields such as Earth, environmental and planetary science, catalysis, soft matter, material synthesis, and nanoscience.

Matter found in the interior of planets (in particular in the interior of the earth) is subject to extremely pressure and temperature. In order to unravel the properties of matter under such extreme conditions, this group operates cutting-edge techniques to achieve extreme pressures up to 200 GPa and temperatures ranging between 5 and 5000 K.

Furthermore, time-resolved structural studies of phase transformations down to the microsecond scale will soon be feasible. Structural dynamics such as collective excitations in disordered materials and phonons in crystalline materials are investigated by nuclear inelastic scattering. Furthermore, nuclear resonance scattering allows the study of diffusion and rotational motions directly in the time domain, as well as electronic and magnetic properties and their dynamics in the nanosecond to microsecond time regime. Local structure, electronic and magnetic properties and their time evolution down to the ns timescale are studied utilising X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray magnetic circular dichroism. Extreme states of matter that can be achieved only during short time intervals (< ns) can also be probed by single bunch acquisition.

Go to the Matter at Extremes group web page

Current PhD projects:

  • Operando XAS For deNOx Catalysis (in partnership with University of Turin)
  • Liquid-Liquid Transition and Associated Critical Phenomena in The High-Pressure Melts of Sulphur and Phosphorus (in partnership with Sorbonne Université)
  • Speciation of Rare-Earth and Elements of Economic Interest in World-Class Sedimentary Phosphate Deposits (in partnership with University of Montpellier)