Monday, July 5, 2010

Small Device With Xenon Difluoride – Capable Of Storing Vast Amounts Of Energy...

Researchers from Washington State University (WSU) have invented a small, two-inch by three-inch-diameter device capable of producing extremely high pressures in a small space of a diamond anvil cell. The never seen before material is capable of storing vast amounts of energy. The cell consists of xenon difluoride (XeF2), a white crystal used to etch silicon conductors, squeezed between two small diamond anvils.The new device is described as “the most condensed form of energy storage outside of nuclear energy.” It has potential for creating a new class of energetic materials or fuels, an energy storage device, super-oxidizing materials for destroying chemical and biological agents, and high temperature superconductors.
  • At around 50 GPa, the XeF2 transforms into a reddish two-dimensional graphite-like hexagonal layered structure of semiconducting XeF4. Above 70 GPa, it further transforms into a black three-dimensional fluorite-like structure of the first observed metallic XeF8 polyhedron.
  • The researchers eventually increased the pressure to more than a million atmospheres, comparable to what would be found halfway to the center of the earth. WSU chemistry professor, Choong-Shik Yoo, says all this “squeezing” forced the molecules to make tightly bound three-dimensional metallic “network structures.” In the process, the huge amount of mechanical energy of compression was stored as chemical energy in the molecules’ bonds.
At normal atmospheric pressure, the material’s molecules stay relatively far apart from each other. But as researchers increased the pressure inside the chamber, the material became a two-dimensional graphite-like semiconductor.

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