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  1. Abstract Recent discoveries of water-rich Neptune-like exoplanets require a more detailed understanding of the phase diagram of H 2 O at pressure–temperature conditions relevant to their planetary interiors. The unusual non-dipolar magnetic fields of ice giant planets, produced by convecting liquid ionic water, are influenced by exotic high-pressure states of H 2 O—yet the structure of ice in this state is challenging to determine experimentally. Here we present X-ray diffraction evidence of a body-centered cubic (BCC) structured H 2 O ice at 200 GPa and ~ 5000 K, deemed ice XIX, using the X-ray Free Electron Laser of the Linac Coherent Light Source to probe the structure of the oxygen sub-lattice during dynamic compression. Although several cubic or orthorhombic structures have been predicted to be the stable structure at these conditions, we show this BCC ice phase is stable to multi-Mbar pressures and temperatures near the melt boundary. This suggests variable and increased electrical conductivity to greater depths in ice giant planets that may promote the generation of multipolar magnetic fields.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Abstract

    Silicon (Si) is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, and it is the most widely used semiconductor. Despite extensive study, some properties of Si, such as its behaviour under dynamic compression, remain elusive. A detailed understanding of Si deformation is crucial for various fields, ranging from planetary science to materials design. Simulations suggest that in Si the shear stress generated during shock compression is released via a high-pressure phase transition, challenging the classical picture of relaxation via defect-mediated plasticity. However, direct evidence supporting either deformation mechanism remains elusive. Here, we use sub-picosecond, highly-monochromatic x-ray diffraction to study (100)-oriented single-crystal Si under laser-driven shock compression. We provide the first unambiguous, time-resolved picture of Si deformation at ultra-high strain rates, demonstrating the predicted shear release via phase transition. Our results resolve the longstanding controversy on silicon deformation and provide direct proof of strain rate-dependent deformation mechanisms in a non-metallic system.