On the Lifetime of Metastable Metallic Hydrogen

Research paper by S. N. Burmistrov, L. B. Dubovskii

Indexed on: 08 Nov '16Published on: 08 Nov '16Published in: arXiv - Physics - Other


The molecular phase of hydrogen converts to the atomic metallic phase at high pressures estimated usually as 300 - 500 GPa. We analyze the decay of metallic phase as the pressure is relieved below the transition one. The metallic state is expected to be in the metastable long-lived state down to about 10 - 20 GPa and decays instantly at the lower pressures. The pressure range of the long-lived metastable state is directly associated with an impossibility to produce a stable hydrogen molecule immersed into the electron liquid of high density. For lower pressures, the nucleation of an electron-free cavity with the energetically favorable hydrogen molecule inside cannot be suppressed with the low ambient pressure.