Intense Reactivity in Sulfur-Hydrogen Mixtures at High Pressure under X-ray Irradiation

Ed Pace, Amy L Coleman, Rachel J Husband, Huijeong Hwang, Jinhyuk Choi, Taehyun Kim, Gilchan Hwang, Sae Hwan Chun, Daewoong Nam, Sangsoo Kim, Orianna Ball, Hanns-Peter Liermann, Malcolm McMahon, Yongjae Lee, Stewart Mcwilliams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Superconductivity near room-temperature in the sulfur-hydrogen system arises from a sequence of reactions at high pressures, with x-ray diffraction experiments playing a central role in understanding these chemical-structural transformations and the corresponding S:H stoichiometry. Here we document x-ray irradiation acting as both a probe and as a driver of chemical reaction in this dense hydride system. We observe reaction between molecular hydrogen
(H2) and elemental sulfur (S8) under high pressure, induced directly by x-ray illumination, at photon energies of 12 keV using a free electron laser. The rapid synthesis of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) at 0.3 GPa was confirmed by optical observations, spectroscopic measurements, and micro-structural changes detected by x-ray diffraction. These results document x-ray induced chemical synthesis of superconductor-forming dense hydrides, revealing an alternative production strategy and confirming the disruptive nature of x-ray exposure in studies on high-pressure hydrogen chalcogenides, from water to high-temperature superconductors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2020


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