April 25, 2013

SBU Geoscientists Predict New Compounds Could Change Our View of What Planets are Made of

Findings establish counterintuitive potential planet-forming materials

A team of researchers led by Artem R. Oganov, a professor of theoretical crystallography in the Department of Geosciences, has made a startling prediction that challenges existing chemical models and current understanding of planetary interiors — magnesium oxide, a major material in the formation of planets, can exist in several different compositions. The team’s findings, “Novel stable compounds in the Mg-O system under high pressure,” are published in the online edition of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. The existence of these compounds — which are radically different from traditionally known or expected materials — could have important implications.