About the Geophysical Laboratory

The Geophysical Laboratory was established in 1905 to investigate the processes that control the composition and structure of the Earth as it was known at the time, including developing the underlying physics and chemistry and creating the experimental tools required for the task. Over a century later, this core mission has expanded to include the physics, chemistry, and biology of the Earth over the entire range of conditions our planet has experienced since its formation, as well as parallel studies of other planets of this and other solar systems from their surfaces to their cores.

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News

Materials

Washington, DC—Germanium may not be a household name like silicon, its group-mate on the periodic table, but it has great potential for use in next-generation electronics and energy technology.

Of particular interest are forms of germanium that can be synthesized in the lab under extreme pressure conditions. However, one of the most-promising forms of germanium for practical applications, called ST12, has only been created in tiny sample sizes—too small to definitively confirm its properties.

“Attempts to experimentally or theoretically pin down ST12-germanium’s characteristics produced extremely varied results, especially in terms of its electrical conductivity,” said the Geophysical Laboratory’s (GL) Zhisheng Zhao, the first author on a new paper about this form of germanium.

Geochemistry

The AGU Fall Meeting 2016 will take place in San Francisco, CA from December 12-17.  Many staff members and postdoctoral associates from the Geophysical Laboratory will attend this year.  

Check here daily for live updates on each day's science presentations; or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. For a live stream of conference photos, click here or follow along below!

High Pressure

Washington, DC— Did you know that there are at least 17 crystalline forms of ice, many of them formed under extreme pressures, such as those found in the interiors of frozen planets? New work from a team led by Carnegie’s Timothy Strobel has identified the structure of a new type of ice crystal that resembles the mineral quartz and is stuffed with over five weight percent of energy-rich hydrogen molecules, which is a long-standing Department of Energy goal for hydrogen storage.  

High Pressure

Washington, DC— New work from a team led by the Geophysical Laboratory's Alexander Goncharov has created a new extremely incompressible carbon nitride compound. They say it could be the prototype for a whole new family of superhard materials, due to the unexpected ratio of carbon and nitrogen atoms. Their work is published in the journal Chemistry of Materials.

Materials

The Geophysical Laboratory's Postdoctoral Fellow Shi Liu was awarded the 2017 APS Metropolis Award in late October.  The purpose of the award is to recognize doctoral thesis research of outstanding quality and achievement in computational physics and to encourage effective written and oral presentation of research results.

Upcoming Events

High Pressure
Jan 23, 2017
11:00 AM

The Geophysical Laboratory's weekly seminar series continues with June Wicks from Princeton University.  She will present, "From Super-earth interiors to our own earth’s surface: using dynamic compression to study our universe."

Event Host: Ronald Cohen
Geochemistry
Jan 30, 2017
11:00 AM

The Geophysical Laboratory's weekly seminar series continues with our own Dionysis Foustoukos. He will present, "Oceanic Subsurface Biosphere: Experimental Studies."

Materials
Feb 6, 2017
11:00 AM

The Geophysical Laboratory's weekly seminar series continues with Arianna Gleason from Stanford University.  She will present, "Ultrafast X-ray Studies on the Dynamics of Transitions in Planetary Materials."

Event Host: Ronald Cohen