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Lab members outside the lab talking

Extreme environments can induce profound changes in materials.  At the high pressure and temperature conditions found within Earth’s upper mantle, graphite transforms from a soft, opaque semimetal into diamond, a transparent, superhard electrical insulator and thermal conductor.  While this transformation in carbon is dramatic, it is far from unique.  As a rule, high pressure impacts the physics and chemistry of all materials and produces unexpected results.

Our research focuses on using extreme environments to answer key questions about Earth and planetary interiors and to provide guidance for the design of new materials for energy-related applications.  The diamond anvil cell coupled with a suite of in-situ analytical probes provides an excellent window into our planet and enables us to discover novel phenomena and new materials over a wide pressure-temperature-composition space.

Contact Us

The Extreme Environments Laboratory is located in the basement of the Green Earth Sciences building

Prof. Wendy Mao can be reached at:
Office: Green Earth Sciences, Room 251
Tel: (650) 723-3718
Mailing address:
Geological & Environmental Sciences
450 Serra Mall
Braun Bldg #320, MC2115
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2115

We are always looking for new Ph.D. students with a background and interest in any of the many fields high pressure science intersects including (but not limited to): mineralogy, petrology, materials science, applied physics, solid state chemistry. Please email us to discuss the possibilities.  Info about applying to the Geological Sciences graduate program