Chemistry and Phase transitions inside giant planets
Chemical reactions and phase transitions govern the internal structure and evolution of planets. Moreover, related processes significantly shape their surface properties. Using powerful lasers in combination with X-ray Free Electron Lasers, we can mimic those conditions in the laboratory and obtain in situ movies of the microscopic structure under those extreme conditions.
Deep inside giant planets and stars, the electronic structure of atoms is strongly affected by the surrounding medium. This significantly influences related energy transport processes and thus our general understanding of such celestial objects. We use the most powerful pulsed laser systems available today to mimic this so-called “warm and hot dense matter" in the laboratory to test state-of-the-art many-body quantum theories.
Dynamic materials synthesis via extreme conditions
Extreme environments can form highly valuable materials that remain metastable under ambient conditions, with diamond being the best-known example. We search for new materials at conditions never naturally present on Earth and explore their release to ambient conditions. To this end, we establish a dedicated shock synthesis laboratory at University of Rostock.