Laboratory for Mineral Physics

Diamond anvil cell

In the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Mineral Physics, diamond anvil cells are used to generate high pressure conditions comparable to those in the Earth’s mantle and core.

Closeup of cell

The diamond anvils not only apply the pressure, but act as windows to the sample, allowing optical and X-ray access. The sample’s physical and chemical properties can be probed using a variety of laser spectroscopies and X-ray techniques.

Laser heating system

Optical systems in the laboratory include a ruby fluorescence system for pressure measurement, and a 1064 nm laser heating system that subjects diamond anvil cell samples to >3000 K. The application of fiber lasers for laser heating high pressure samples was pioneered in our lab, and their use has since spread to labs around the world.

Temperature distribution of laser-heated spot

Our laser heating system is unique in its ability to measure 2D temperature distributions across the laser heated spot (right). This is a great improvement over older systems that measure only a single temperature at a time, or a 1D profile at best. The multispectral imaging system (below) was described by Campbell (2008).

Happily collecting data at APS

Synchrotron x-ray sources are also an important tool in our research. We are regular users of the Advanced Photon Source and the Advanced Light Source.