Mineral Physics and Extreme Materials

Computational Mineral And Materials Physics.

Our group discovers how materials behave at the atomic and molecular levels when subjected to extreme pressures and temperatures. This allows us to predict the composition of the interiors of the Earth, other planets in our Solar System, as well as planets in other solar systems.

Pressure and temperature control the structure of properties of both natural and man-made materials, and this offers the opportunity to discover, synthesize, and characterize new high-performance technological materials for many applications, including energy storage, so-called “super-hard” materials, abrasives, and semi-conductors.

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HIGP has a wide range of facilities for both research and graduate and undergraduate education and training in the fields of Mineral Physics and Extreme Materials.

  • The Multi-Anvil Press Laboratory (MAPLab) has been commissioned to become a research and teaching/training ex-situ large volume press facility for high-pressure sample syntheses and experimental petrology research. (Read more here.)
  • The X-Ray Atlas Diffraction Laboratory is engaged in cutting-edge crystallographic research focused on characterization of the discontinuous structural transformations that silicates undergo as a function of depth, and has been leading the field in the development of innovative solutions in hardware, measurement methodology and data analysis software for high-pressure research. The X-Ray Atlas Lab also features spectroscopic and laser–heating instrumentation for high-pressure and high-temperature research. (Read more here.)
  • The Laser Spectroscopy Lab (read more here) allows us to measure how crystal lattices vibrate by Raman spectroscopy, Brillouin Scattering, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, as well as high-temperature sample syntheses and measurements by laser heating. The group also manages and operates a state-of-the-art synchrotron user facility located at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. All are used by our graduate and undergraduate students.

With our research base in Earth and planetary science-focused mineral physics already very well established, the group is currently in the process of actively expanding the research agenda and building new collaborations in the areas of smart molecular materials, gas storage and sorption, and super-hard materials.


Tayro Acosta-Maeda

Assistant Researcher

Bin Chen

Associate Researcher

Przemyslaw Dera


Xiaojing Lai

Research Associate

Warren McKenzie

Graduate Student

Li Chung Ming

Emeritus Faculty, High-pressure research

Anupam K. Misra


Phuong Q. H. Nguyen

Post-Doctoral Researcher/Affiliate Faculty

Robert Rapp

Affiliate Faculty

Shiv K. Sharma


Jingui Xu

Synchrotron X-ray Experiments Researcher

Feng Zhu

Post-Doctoral Researcher/Affiliate Faculty
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