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  1. Abstract

    Sub-Neptune exoplanets may have thick hydrogen envelopes and therefore develop a high-pressure interface between hydrogen and the underlying silicates/metals. Some sub-Neptunes may convert to super-Earths via massive gas loss. If hydrogen chemically reacts with oxides and metals at high pressures and temperatures (PT), it could impact the structure and composition of the cores and atmospheres of sub-Neptunes and super-Earths. While H2gas is a strong reducing agent at low pressures, the behavior of hydrogen is unknown at thePTexpected for sub-Neptunes’ interiors, where hydrogen is a dense supercritical fluid. Here we report experimental results of reactions between ferrous/ferric oxides and hydrogen at 20–40 GPa and 1000–4000 K utilizing the pulsed laser-heated diamond-anvil cell combined with synchrotron X-ray diffraction. Under these conditions, hydrogen spontaneously strips iron off the oxides, forming Fe-H alloys and releasing oxygen to the hydrogen medium. In a planetary context where this reaction may occur, the Fe-H alloy may sink to the metallic part of the core, while released oxygen may stabilize as water in the silicate layer, providing a mechanism to ingas hydrogen to the deep interiors of sub-Neptunes. Water produced from the redox reaction can also partition to the atmosphere of sub-Neptunes, which has important implications formore »understanding the composition of their atmospheres. In addition, super-Earths converted from sub-Neptunes may contain a large amount of hydrogen and water in their interiors (at least a few wt% H2O). This is distinct from smaller rocky planets, which were formed relatively dry (likely a few hundredths wt% H2O).

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  2. Abstract We have performed sound velocity and unit cell volume measurements of three synthetic, ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline grossular samples up to 50 GPa using Brillouin spectroscopy and synchrotron X-ray diffraction. The samples are characterized by average grain sizes of 90 nm, 93 nm and 179 nm (hereinafter referred to as samples Gr90, Gr93, and Gr179, respectively). The experimentally determined sound velocities and elastic properties of Gr179 sample are comparable with previous measurements, but slightly higher than those of Gr90 and Gr93 under ambient conditions. However, the differences diminish with increasing pressure, and the velocity crossover eventually takes place at approximately 20–30 GPa. The X-ray diffraction peaks of the ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline grossular samples significantly broaden between 15–40 GPa, especially for Gr179. The velocity or elasticity crossover observed at pressures over 30 GPa might be explained by different grain size reduction and/or inhomogeneous strain within the individual grains for the three grossular samples, which is supported by both the pressure-induced peak broadening observed in the X-ray diffraction experiments and transmission electron microscopy observations. The elastic behavior of ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline silicates, in this case, grossular, is both grain size and pressure dependent.
  3. X-ray diffraction indicates that the structure of the recently discovered carbonaceous sulfur hydride (C-S-H) room temperature superconductor is derived from previously established van der Waals compounds found in the H2S-H2 and CH4-H2 systems. Crystals of the superconducting phase were produced by a photochemical synthesis technique leading to the superconducting critical temperature Tc of 288 K at 267 GPa. X-ray diffraction patterns measured from 124 to 178 GPa, within the pressure range of the superconducting phase, are consistent with an orthorhombic structure derived from the Al2Cu-type determined for (H2S)2H2 and (CH4)2H2 that differs from those predicted and observed for the S-H system to these pressures. The formation and stability of the C-S-H compound can be understood in terms of the close similarity in effective volumes of the H2S and CH4 components, and denser carbon-bearing S-H phases may form at higher pressures. The results are crucial for understanding the very high superconducting Tc found in the C-S-H system at megabar pressures.