Little is known regarding the liquid structure of materials compressed to extreme conditions, and even less is known about liquid structures undergoing rapid compression on nanosecond timescales. Here we report on liquid structure factor and radial distribution function measurements of tin shock compressed to 84(19) GPa. High-quality, femtosecond x-ray diffraction measurements at the Linac Coherent Light Source were used to extract the liquid diffuse scattering signal. From the radial distribution function, we find that the structural evolution of the liquid with increasing pressure
mimics the evolution of the solid phase. With increasing pressure we find that the liquid structure evolves from a complex structure, with low coordination number, to a simple liquid structure with a coordination number of ∼ 12.
We provide a pathway for future experiments to study liquids at elevated pressures using high-energy lasers to shock compress materials beyond the reach of static diamond anvil cell techniques.