High pressure is a powerful approach to manipulate and study the atomic interactions in materials. We have established the first Danish lab that performs both high-pressure synthesis and crystallography and use these new tools for the synthesis of novel compounds and structure-property studies.
Activities in our home-lab are centered on synthesis and crystal growth followed by characterization of the crystal structures and physical properties. The facilities include single-crystal X-ray diffractometers compatible with small diamond cells that fit in a hand and the huge press that allows for syntheses of bulk samples at up to 20 GPa and 2000 K. In many cases compounds can be quenched to ambient conditions, similar to how diamonds are created in the earth, but we do it in hours.
We study the structure and properties of materials with interesting electronic properties, such as multiferroics, superconductors and topological insulators. In many cases the compression leads to structural or electronic phase transition. We mainly perform structural studies at international synchrotron facilities using diamond cells under extreme conditions, 100 GPa and laser heating to 2500 K. X-ray crystallography is the principal diagnostic, but several other techniques can be used as diamonds are transparent to optical light and x-rays.
Many projects include collaborations with groups from physics/nanoscience who perform theoretical calculations and advanced experimental characterization such as ARPES and STM/STS.