Physicists at the University of Illinois at Urbana, led by Yubo Yang, have discovered a new structure of hydrogen that has not been observed before.
The structure is said to form at high temperatures and enormous pressure, and it was discovered using a combination of quantum simulation and artificial intelligence (AI).
The researchers used the quantum Monte Carlo simulation method, a self-learning algorithm that can calculate the position of significantly more atoms than other methods, resulting in more precise structural determinations. According to the results of the AI, at extremely high pressures of several hundred gigapascals and temperatures of over 900 Kelvin, a crystal is formed whose hydrogen molecules are distorted into an egg shape, unlike the almost spherical shape found in other hydrogen structures.
While the existence of this structure has not yet been experimentally proven, the physicists are confident that it actually exists because the AI also correctly calculated the behavior of other hydrogen structures at high pressures that had already been proven experimentally. Other quantum simulations have provided hints for the existence of the structure of hydrogen, but the self-learning system has substantiated their assumption.
The structure is problematic for simulations because it is not as symmetrical as other high-pressure structures of hydrogen, and the zero-point energy, which is crucial for structural simulations, can only be calculated with difficulty. Therefore, experiments at such pressures and temperatures are very complex, making it challenging to verify the existence of the structure experimentally.
However, the discovery of this new structure of hydrogen is significant because it could have potential impacts on fields such as material science and energy storage. The distorted egg-shaped hydrogen molecules could provide new insights into hydrogen storage for fuel cells, and the more precise structural determinations could improve the accuracy of computer simulations in material science.
In conclusion, the combination of quantum simulation and artificial intelligence has led to the discovery of a new structure of hydrogen that has not been observed before. Although the existence of the structure has not yet been experimentally proven, the physicists are confident that it actually exists. The potential impact of this discovery on fields such as material science and energy storage is significant, and it could lead to new insights and improved accuracy in computer simulations. However, the challenges surrounding the verification of the existence of the structure remain.