In RT4, we explore the exotic, squeezed chemistry of ultrastrong magnetic fields and high pressure.
On Earth, chemistry is governed by the Coulomb interactions between electrons and nuclei, the effect of magnetism being weak and subtle. Elsewhere in the universe, the situation is different. On many white dwarf stars, the magnetic forces acting on the particles are as strong as the electric forces. Their complicated interplay sets up an exotic chemistry of egg-shaped atoms, affecting structure and reactivity of molecules in unexpected ways. Most strikingly, atoms bind in new ways, creating molecules that do not exist on Earth. Intriguingly, similar conditions may exist on Earth, inside crystal impurities.
Ultrahigh pressure poses challenges similar to those of an ultrastrong magnetic field: both squeeze matter, creating highly complicated, electronic systems, challenging our understanding of chemistry and our computational models.
In RT4, we plan to:
- develop and adapt the methods of electronic-structure theory to extreme environments
- extend computational models for extreme environments to large systems with inclusion of dynamics
- calculate spectra of astrophysical relevance