Predicted reentrant melting of dense hydrogen at ultra-high pressures [CL]

The phase diagram of hydrogen is one of the most important challenges in high-pressure physics and astrophysics. Especially, the melting of dense hydrogen is complicated by dimer dissociation, metallization and nuclear quantum effect of protons, which together lead to a cold melting of dense hydrogen when above 500 GPa. Nonetheless, the variation of the melting curve at higher pressures is virtually uncharted. Here we report that using ab initio molecular dynamics and path integral simulations based on density functional theory, a new atomic phase is discovered, which gives an uplifting melting curve of dense hydrogen when beyond 2 TPa, and results in a reentrant solid-liquid transition before entering the Wigner crystalline phase of protons. The findings greatly extend the phase diagram of dense hydrogen, and put metallic hydrogen into the group of alkali metals, with its melting curve closely resembling those of lithium and sodium.

Read this paper on arXiv…

H. Geng and Q. Wu
Mon, 7 Nov 16

Comments: 27 pages, 10 figures