Why Metallic Hydrogen Is the Holy Grail of High Pressure Physics


Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the
universe, thanks to it being simply one proton paired with one electron. Here on Earth we usually see it bound to oxygen
to form water, and very rarely hydrogen atoms pair up and exist as a gas in our atmosphere. But theoretically in the right conditions
hydrogen alone can act as a liquid metal, and learning more about it could answer some
mysteries about planets in our solar system. We know Jupiter and Saturn are mostly Hydrogen
based on their densities, which is why they’re called the gas giants. But they’re not puffy clouds all the way
down as the name might suggest. Only the thin outermost layer is gaseous. Under that, the pressure compresses the hydrogen
into a liquid state, and further down still the hydrogen takes on metallic properties. Most elements in the periodic table are metals. Their defining characteristic is they pass
electrons freely amongst each other, like a shared pool of electrons. This makes them good conductors of heat and
electricity. Normally the Hydrogen we see on Earth doesn’t
behave like a metal, but at about 13,000 km below Jupiter’s gaseous surface, things
are different. Like a substitute teacher, with enough pressure
those hydrogen molecules snap. In fact the hydrogen atoms dissociate entirely
into free electrons and protons. The pressure inside Jupiter gives it the properties
of a metal: those electrons can flow freely from proton to proton, making the hydrogen
conductive. We think this metallic hydrogen could account
for the magnetic fields surrounding Jupiter and Saturn, instead of a molten iron core
like inside Earth. But to understand metallic hydrogen better
we have to make it, and that’s no easy task. It’s not like we can scoop some up from
deep inside Jupiter, instead we have to recreate those conditions somehow here on Earth. I am very happy to report that one leading
method involves giant lasers. The lasers, all 168 of them, are used to send
shock waves through a sample of ultracool liquid deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen with
one neutron. The waves compress the deuterium to six million
times earth’s atmospheric pressure while keeping the sample below 1,700 degrees celsius,
or what physicists call “cool.” At least they think it’s that cool, because
measuring the temperature inside the shock wave isn’t possible and instead is inferred
through computer simulations. Still, the scientists concluded liquid deuterium
becomes metallic at 2 million times the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere. That contradicts another lab’s findings
that the transition happens at around 3 million atmospheres of pressure. Each lab politely and professionally says
the other one must have incorrect temperature estimates, and that their own results are
the true and correct ones. That’s about the closest scientists get
to reality show drama and I for one am living for it! There’s been even more drama around a 2017
Harvard experiment’s attempt at making metallic hydrogen. Using the tips of two diamonds like a vise,
scientists claimed they crushed a hydrogen sample to nearly 4.9 million atmospheres until
it wasn’t just metallic, but solid as well, a world first. They were going to send it to another lab
for study, but wouldn’t you know it, just before shipping it they decided to check the
pressure with a laser one more time for good measure, and the diamonds shattered to dust. The sample was lost. This has lead other scientists to speculate
that it didn’t actually… happen. Still, the Harvard scientists think the lost
hydrogen could still be in a solid state, even with the pressure lifted. It might even be a room temperature superconductor,
which would revolutionize materials science. But finding the 10 micrometer wide sample
in a pile of diamond dust is next to impossible. Darn. Funny, we go through all this trouble to create
a speck of metallic hydrogen, but thanks to Jupiter and Saturn’s vast sizes it’s the
most common form of hydrogen among all of our planets. Sometimes there are drawbacks to living on
Earth. While you’re here subscribe for more videos,
like this one about how Jupiter could be the reason for life on Earth. Some scientists don’t believe the Harvard
experiment made solid metallic hydrogen because at a high enough pressure the hydrogen can
diffuse right through the diamond! Thanks for watching, I’ll see you next time
on Seeker!

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100 thoughts on “Why Metallic Hydrogen Is the Holy Grail of High Pressure Physics”

  1. Seeker says:

    Hi Seeker fam,
    As you've all already noticed, the molecule at the top of this video is not actually H2O, it's HO2, a simple, but critical mistake.
    In case you're wondering, HO2, also known as Hydroperoxyl radical, does actually exist! An oxygen radical, it's highly reactive ­- though it's molecular structure is a bit different than what's pictured above. Mistakes can be fun when they teach you new things?
    Learn more about HO2 here! –

  2. 100 % says:

    Is anyone else bothered at the sight of those skinny arms? This man looks like he can not defend himself

  3. yotodine says:

    Don't take this the wrong way, but are you okay? Whatever it is I hope you get better!

  4. Alemayehu Ewunetu says:

    What about the Sun. Do sun have metallic hydrogen?

  5. Elsa Debroglie says:

    This guy is fucking JACKED.

  6. Tay the prodigy says:

    I think you all can stop pointing out the mistake now. 90 percent of the people who watched and commented noticed

  7. Molotov With Lux says:


  8. Julio Sitges Pomares says:

    Being metallic, why couldn't it be scooped by a magnet?

  9. aditya mishra says:

    sir your h2o was wrongly depicted

  10. Jason Sharma says:

    @1:29 assumptions made about Jupiter and Saturn's cores being LMH, yet gravitationally bound to the belief of Earth has an iron core. This also has implications on Doctor PMR's theory of the Sun's Surface being LMH.

  11. tylerx2f01 says:

    Let's make some heavy hydrogen by stripping the electron and replacing it with a muon. then make that a metal.

  12. Callum Goodall says:

    How did that animation of wayer get through to the final cut, kind of lost their credibility there

  13. scratch says:

    Hydrogen is hydrogen-y.

  14. Adric M says:

    modern day 'needle in a haystack', theoretical hydrogen in a pile of diamond dust. (that is assuming the liquid metal hydrogen does not wet to diamond. )

  15. B G says:

    whatever,not going to help anyone on earth

  16. Paradox says:

    How is someone sooo skinny?

  17. tecums3h says:

    Frickin lasers.

  18. ZG Colorforce says:

    How is it possible to mess up the formula for water!?

  19. Storm Cat Fulgurite says:

    Room temperature superconductor? Forget going all the way to Pandora. Just make it here at home.

  20. Allan Roser says:

    Our Sun gives a very nice Black Body curve… which can only come from condensed matter… our Sun cannot be a plasma ball… LMH is a good fit… see YouTube channel Sky Scholar.

  21. curtislee says:

    Like a substitute teacher

  22. DeepSpace12 says:

    So… WHY Metallic Hydrogen Is the Holy Grail of High Pressure Physics?

  23. keefebaby says:

    Surely just use a strong magnetic field and you would find the solid hydrogen, if it is a superconductor

  24. Evil Robin says:

    This is all bullshit. They should be able to tell the temperature of the sample by the light emitted, unless there's scattering of the laser light, which would indicate a lack of efficiency. They have micron sieves, so they should be able to screen it from the diamond. And they simply should be able to see it, by its light scattering versus the diamond. Oh, wait, and hydrogen as a metal it will have a magnetic moment different than diamond.

  25. Mr. Lowery says:

    The actual m

  26. Drew Sullivan • 12 years ago says:

    I know this guy is smart but someone has to say it, bruh, your a spooky skeleton.

  27. Gary Lewis says:

    how about rocket fuel made from metalic hydrogen

  28. Nonconcensusical says:

    Inside the Sun, liquid metallic hydrogen. Prof. P-M Robitaille.
    Super conductivity is low permeability. Ken Wheeler.

  29. Bill DeCat says:

    Just a shot in the dark here but if the diamond dust (pure carbon) was exposed to a strong enough EM field would it not be affected and allow the separation of the H from the C.

  30. Anonymous bub says:

    Like a substitute teacher

  31. Luke Harwood says:

    NASA T.SHIRT WEARING (Anorexia nervosa) GAY PRESENTER – POSITS THAT WATER = HO2. YOUSIF ISAAC BELOW GETS IT. SO DOES YASH KHAMBHATTA…..this presentation is so glib, so infantile & so full of no fact pseudoscience ….I'm going to take a dump and when I get back, you had better not be here!!!

  32. Kitana Kojima says:

    I would subscribe…. but your audience is comprised of mostly total fucktards, from what I can see in the comments. A bit different from the subscribers to scishow or curious droid. More kids… and more idiots.

  33. Tahjay Ulett says:

    If the metalic hydrogen that's lost among the diamond dust is actually metalic, why not just bring a magnet and find it that way?

  34. medexamtoolsdotcom says:

    Two chemists walk into a bar, and one of them says "I'd like a glass of H-2-O". And the other one says "I'd like a glass of H-2-O too". They drink their drinks and then the second chemist explodes in a burst of steam. Or something like that. I don't know how the joke goes, and I don't care any more, but it's a bad idea to drink 100% hydrogen peroxide.

  35. Pam Simonson says:


  36. Super Shorts says:

    00:10 mate, sorry to break it to ya. but H2O mean 2 hydrogens and one oxygen not 2 oxygens and one hydrogen

  37. Copitzky Michael says:

    We might have to build water out of the hydrogen.

  38. James Okane says:

    0:11 HO2? Someone went through the trouble of animating that, without the basic knowledge of a basic molecule.

  39. Nick. C says:

    Woah man

  40. Chinedu Opara says:

    Dude your ears are legit . Mad respect, son.

  41. WashingtonWebFoot says:

    If it could stay solid, why isn't there more of it around?

  42. Xeno Bardock says:

    Molten metals and very hot metals can't generate magnetic fields due to intense heat destroying all magnetism therefore destroying the inner and outer core hypothesis. Jupiter and Saturn having metallic hydrogen core is just another hypothesis. And since mainstream scientists don't realize gravity completely reverses inside all planets which means all heavy objects will fall away from the center of planets creating huge cavity, and even pull from mass all above creating zero gravity at the exact center of planets, mainstream scientists are guaranteed to be always wrong about the what exist deep inside the planets and what cores are made of.

  43. aluisious says:

    "But after a group of scientist’s lost the world’s first sample,"

    Learn English.

  44. Jesse Lapides says:

    lol rip that water molecule xD

  45. Jesse Lapides says:

    1:16 dude use a real picture of jupiter come on

  46. Kohoko says:

    Dude, …eat a sandwich, bro'.

  47. Rockrabbit Rehabilitation says:

    Are periodic table needs some updating!

    I have been saying for years that we don’t know shit about the elements.

    you have to consider The bigger picture. Producing any element is a process I call a recipe.

    Pressure, heat and time along with gravity produced in a vacuum.

    Some of the elements we are familiar with such as water that can be a liquid, solid and a gas would probably behave differently under the right amount of pressure, heat and time!

    We are talking about pressures beyond anything we could ever produce, along with heat and time consisting of eons such as it takes to make diamonds.

    Every element ever produced was produced in a star that had the right recipe, the right gravity producing the right amount of pressure and heat for the right amount of time.

    If our scientist are able to re-create the conditions in a star and can live long enough they can produce elements such as gold and silver or anything else on the periodic table.

  48. wouter van tellingen says:

    HO2 is not a water molecule😂

  49. Chris Brown says:

    So making metallic hydrogen is the same as fusion?

  50. Oneza HD says:

    Didn't James Dewar collect Hydrogen's melting point in 1899? Does anyone know anything about this?

  51. Ben spooner says:

    I assume everyone but the editors noticed that the hydrogen is bonded to two oxygen to make water?

  52. The asiatic Lion says:

    Isn’t hydrogen flammable.

  53. AdmiralXiphos says:

    why do anglos tend to be such soyboys

  54. Flez says:

    Hard to take this seriously after ten seconds.

  55. Troll Man says:

    2:57 that fcking moment u don't have a liquid gas anymore, u have a fcking liquid-solid gas:))

  56. Erick Sierra says:

    If a diamond cannot contain hydrogen gas its unlikely anything can although the next question would be carbon nanotubes. Certainly you can put hydrogen in a carbon nanotube or sandwich it in a two sheets of graphene bonded together at the edges which I'm guessing would make it "no longer graphene".

  57. Raymond Stowar says:

    All they made were metallic penises

  58. Vydal2018 says:

    what annoying me when he talk about jupiter and saturn like absolute truth, stop pushing your imagination into another people

  59. gamebro says:

    It's starting to look like this was a scam. The sample magically disappeared (they say they broke their diamond vice)- probably when other scientists were coming to examine it, and haven't made more since. THERE IS SOOO MANY SCAMS IN SCIENCE today. It really reminds me of all the "missing link" fossils that turn out to be scams.
    If you really believe in evolution then you should also believe in bigfoot- cause many iterations of him (millions?) should be out there as fossils and still living to go from monkey ancestor to man. We can find all the dinosaurs but not these? And what we do find are always dubious claims that turn out to be scams or not quite right such as lucy or neanderthal skulls. Evolution is bad pseudo science, chock full of deceit and misinformation. Fitting that the current president of the flat earth society is an evolutionist. But dumbasses come from all walks of life, some of my fellow creatards are morons too, some of whom believe in flat earth too! So what point was I trying to make again?

    DARNED IF I KNOW BUT I AM HANGRY! FEED ME UNHAPPY THINGS NOW!! I want hot spices that make my gut GROWL with rage in the morny… Yes I said morny… so what, wanna fight about it?

    Too bad… cause the dictionary isn't the final word on words. People can make up words all the time, deal with it you choder-broder.

    Uhhh… right…
    Dubious claims about new batteries, flying cars, 2d materials like graphene changing our world by 2008 (where is it already?), quantum computers (isn't dwave good enough evidence they kinda suck), and soo much more. I love science but almost have to say before reading any sci-news article "this will be mostly bullshit". It's the only way to keep your sanity while trying to follow the sci-news of the day.
    Dwave isn't even a real quantum computer lol.. seriously… Thanks a lot media for tricking me into thinking it was! CLASSICAL COMPUTERS FTW! WOOOOO!

    (note I may or may not have large investments into classical computer technology companies).

  60. bestfightsever9000 says:

    Somebody give this guy a biscuit

  61. Jason Hunt says:

    Why do they think it would remain metallic? If that were the case, wouldn't we find it in nature, outside of gas giants?

  62. Steve Sloan says:

    Why not emphasise the fact aligned hydrogen defuses through diamond, rather than throwing it in right at the end? I personally would like to hear why that happens. 🤓🇦🇺

  63. Chris H says:

    Cool facts but does it rain diamonds on Jupiter or not?

  64. KONGO JOHN says:

    Hahahahaha O2H ???????

  65. CountChocula30 says:

    Did somebody say "Giant Lasers!"? Bwah bwah bwahahahahahaha…….

  66. Ellis Swan says:

    Can we get the "living for it" as a gif please 😅

  67. Jerror45 says:

    Like a substitute teacher ha haaaa 😂😂

  68. joseph intravaia says:

    Why do you even have a body ? Oh I see , to wear that nas-holes tee shirt . At least wear one with long sleeves. .

  69. GET REAL says:

    Your Aaron Barr's twin!!!

  70. Kyle Nelson says:

    Both laboratories are lying. Hydrogen gains the properties of a metallic solid at 1,000,000 atm. Such hot garbage people they are.

  71. Hand Solo says:

    "Finding the 10um wide sample in a pile of diamond dust is next to impossible."

    Did they try using a vaccum cleaner with a sock in the pipe?

  72. Brad Turner says:

    Question. How come the earths molten iron core is magnetic when molten iron in it self is not magnetic?

  73. DekkyTheAwesome says:

    When my girlfriend farts she compresses gasses into solid state…

  74. Joseph Straley says:

    This man needs some protein

  75. CanadianPatriot says:

    The sun is metallic hydrogen. Until scientists admit that, I will continue to consider them mental midgets.

  76. Andre Mota says:

    You made HO2 not H2O in the begining.

  77. janez dominik says:

    0:08 hold up

  78. Herr Neumrich says:

    I'm just having the biggest laugh ever! 😂😂 Thank you guys for making my day. HO2 instead of H2O… good joke, chaps.. good joke.. 😂

  79. kirby march barcena says:

    @1:06 "…like a substitute teacher…"
    What was that all about?

  80. Max Metcalf says:


  81. Jake Hix says:

    Funny when finding something in a handful of dust is a literal impossibility.

  82. jacob burnett says:

    Wow, if that was me I'm sorry…

  83. William Reed says:


  84. Nachuak says:

    How do you make a room temperature superconductor?

  85. Abdul Hanan says:

    Whats so hype its just plasma created from hydrogen. I think other non metals will also start to act like this at extreme conditions

  86. Tony Bjorklund says:

    I have a weird question, when you heat iron up like orange hot -between red and white somewhere but not yet molten – doesn’t it lose its magnetic property ? So if the core of the Earth is molten iron how is it magnetic?

  87. Staminist says:

    You bought me at "Giant lasers" !!!

  88. Ben Dare says:

    My understanding of the coldest temperature is that it is -273C or 0K. Where did the 1,700 degrees below come from?

  89. God says:

    I too have gases under great pressure

  90. Dedusmuln says:

    yo this water taste weird af

  91. Lawrence Glaser says:

    Harvard, uhhhh if solid hydrogen nano pellet was lost in pile of diamond dust, you could have used a magnet to pick it up. duuuhh?

  92. Gary Gesell says:

    so what you're saying is if in Jupiter there is solid hydrogen they could possibly stay solid even at a normal pressure then we need to blow up Jupiter

  93. arya patel says:

    where u guys find such water Ho2 ???

  94. White Noise says:

    So could Metallic Hydrogen be the secret to a Lightsaber ?

  95. White Noise says:

    This guy needs to eat more Cheeseburgers….Please !!

  96. Aayush Boliya's Universe says:

    If Solid Hydrogen is there on Jupiter, isn't it possible that they in stars where pressures are super high?

  97. Bunny Bro says:

    I think the water you're advertising has one too many ions for my taste

  98. Alan Werner says:

    Abstract much?. Theoretical?? Nah. This is just nuts and bolts science stuff, right?.

  99. michael steven says:

    2:08 wait a minute how would the lasers put pressure on the deuterium? wouldn't they just heat it up?

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