Our recent experiments have shown that ordered carbon nanomaterials with unprecedented chemical structures can be synthesized via these methods.
A unifying theme in the Badding group's 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 and hydrogen storage, and high strength carbon nanomaterials have recently been of particular interest. Our recent experiments have shown that ordered carbon nanomaterials with unprecedented chemical structures can be synthesized via these methods. The synthesis and probing of these materials is often done in confined geometries that allow for unique nanostructures and/or a desired control over chemical and physical behavior.
About 1,000,000 kg per year of diamond is produced by high pressure methods, a much larger quantity than is produced by chemical vapor deposition.
Pressure is a thermodynamic variable that is as fundamental as temperature, but is underutilized in materials chemistry research. It can, for example, control interatomic distance (without much variation in other quantities such as the entropy), tune reaction chemical kinetics and thermodynamics (often over a much wider range than is possible with temperature), allow for solvents with hybrid liquid-like and gas-like properties, and infiltrate molecules and materials into near atomic scale voids. Superior materials properties or interesting behavior not possible without the use of pressure for chemical synthesis or tuning can thus be obtained. At the micro and nano scales, high pressure chemistry becomes much more straightforward and practical because pressure is force per unit area and the forces involved become very small as the area decreases. We use a wide range of pressure from just above atmospheric (0.1 megapascals) to tens of gigapascals. Pressure is practical for industrial scale synthesis. About 1,000,000 kg of diamond per year is produced by high pressure methods, a much larger quantity than is produced by chemical vapor deposition.