Salt spices up chemistry
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.