Courtesy of A.R. Oganov and Weiwei Zhang
With a dash of table salt, scientists have created exotic compounds that bend the basic rules of chemical bonds and matter in the universe, researchers report in the Dec. 20 Science.
The team pulled off the spicy chemistry by squeezing grains of sodium chloride between two diamonds while frying the salt with a laser.
The high-temperature, high-pressure conditions mimic those inside stars and planets, says chemist Artem Oganov of Stony Brook University. His team’s discovery that these conditions create unexpected chemicals suggests that alien chemical structures make up a vast fraction of the solar system’s matter.
“This is a new chapter of chemistry,” Oganov says. It means that the rules in chemistry textbooks have much more limited applicability than previously thought, he says.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.