Synchrotron and FEL Studies of Matter at High Pressures

  • Malcolm I. McMahonEmail author
Living reference work entry


Samples compressed to very high pressures are typically very small or exist for only a very short period of time. Researchers seeking to make x-ray studies of matter under such conditions have therefore always sought access to the brightest possible x-ray sources – synchrotrons – and, more recently, x-ray FELs. In this chapter, after a brief introduction and a short history of high-pressure science, I describe the techniques used to compress matter to pressures well above 1 million atmospheres (1 megabar or 100 GPa) both statically and dynamically and then review how experiments are conducted on such samples at both synchrotrons and XFELs. I conclude with a discussion about the opportunities afforded by the start-up of diffraction-limited synchrotrons and the new European XFEL.


High-pressure X-ray diffraction X-ray spectroscopy Diamond anvil cell Large volume press Crystallography Static compression Dynamic compression Synchrotron XFEL 



The author would like to thank N. Dubrovinskaia, A. Dewaele, Y. Wang, H-P. Liermann, H.J. Lee, S. Klotz, T. Sakai, and Y. Gupta for providing images and figures used in this chapter. I would like to thank and acknowledge the numerous colleagues and collaborators who have contributed to the research and developments published by my group over the past 20 years that I have cited in this review. I would also like to thank the facility staff at synchrotrons and XFELs for their assistance and support in the experiments and technical developments. This work was supported by grants from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research and the Royal Society and facilities and funding provided by SRS Daresbury Laboratory, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the Advanced Photon Source, Diamond Light Source, and the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). Use of the LCLS, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, is supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, and Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Contract No. DE-AC02-76SF00515. The MEC instrument is supported by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, and Office of Fusion Energy Sciences under Contract No. SF00515. The author is grateful to AWE Aldermaston for the support of a William Penney Fellowship.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, and Centre for Science at Extreme ConditionsThe University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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