Using High Pressure to Study Material’s Properties and Innovate Multi-functional Materials

This photo shoes several Argentine ants surrounding a single harvester ant during an aggressive interaction. Argentine ants produce chemicals that signal their nestmates during these encounters.

Professor Chen Li from the UCR Mechanical Engineering Department leads the Li Group
UC Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Have you ever wondered how researchers are able to understand and discover different properties of materials?  Prof. Chen Li’s research group in the Mechanical Engineering Department is using high pressure as a tool to (1) understand the physics of fundamental excitations in the materials; (2) tune the properties of existing energy materials; and (3) engineer innovative multi-functional materials through high pressure synthesis or other indirect approaches.

Professor Li’s group uses diamond anvil cells by methods of Raman, X-ray scattering, and neutron scattering to create extreme high pressure up to 100 Gigapascal. This allows the study of lattice dynamics, magnons, and transport properties under extreme conditions. The high pressure is also used to tailor materials’ various thermal, structural, and transport properties.



Diamond anvil cells used by Li Group for Raman spectroscopy and X-ray scattering at synchrotron. (Above left) symmetric piston-cylinder cell and (Above Right) Boehler-Almax cell.

Optical system (above) used by the Li Group for micro-Raman spectroscopy and ruby fluorescence pressure calibration.

The Li Group uses the Paris-Edinburg cell at the SNAP beamline at Spallation Neutron Source, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to conduct high pressure neutron diffraction experiment.

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