Metallization and molecular dissociation of dense fluid nitrogen

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Abstract / Description of output

Diatomic nitrogen is an archetypal molecular system known for its exceptional stability and complex behavior at high pressures and temperatures, including rich solid polymorphism, formation of energetic states, and an insulator-to-metal transformation coupled to a change in chemical bonding. However, the thermobaric conditions of the fluid molecular–polymer phase boundary and associated metallization have not been experimentally established. Here, by applying dynamic laser heating of compressed nitrogen and using fast optical spectroscopy to study electronic properties, we observe a transformation from insulating (molecular) to conducting dense fluid nitrogen at temperatures that decrease with pressure and establish that metallization, and presumably fluid polymerization, occurs above 125 GPa at 2500 K. Our observations create a better understanding of the interplay between molecular dissociation, melting, and metallization revealing features that are common in simple molecular systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2624
Number of pages6
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2018


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