The National Science Foundation has just announced the award of $13.7 million to Arizona State University to build a one-of-a-kind high-pressure research facility, the FORCE (Facility for Open Research in a Compressed Environment).
This grant, with PI’s Kurt Leinenweber, Alexandra Navrotsky, David J. Smith, Thomas G. Sharp and S.H.-D. Shim, will provide four major pieces of equipment, specialized space for their installation and operation, and staff support. The equipment consists of: 1) A state-of-the-art high pressure gas apparatus for treating samples at up to 1 GPa (GigaPascal) pressure to be used for studies of Earth and planetary crustal and upper mantle environments, for preparing starting materials for the larger presses, and for materials science discovery. 2) A 6000 ton press that will allow very large samples to be produced for a wide array of measurements and observations that cannot be made on smaller samples. 3) A cubic press that will have two major functions: (a) In single-stage mode: rapid synthesis of large samples from 1-7 GPa, and rapid pressure-temperature studies in the same region. (b) In double-stage mode: detailed work in the 30-100 GPa range that current large-volume capabilities have not yet reached. 4) A high-pressure torsional device for studying material behavior and phase transitions caused by strain. There will be direct links to ongoing work at ASU and elsewhere in other key areas of high pressure research such as diamond anvil and shock compression studies, as well as to on-site characterization by electron microscopy, diffraction, spectroscopy, and calorimetry techniques.
FORCE - the Facility for Open Research in a Compressed Environmment - will be operated as an open facility with easy and convenient access for researchers from universities, national labs, and industry, using the well-established facilities access infrastructure already established at ASU. The facility will also have summer internships and organize annual workshops. It will provide short-term office space to encourage and support users for short, medium, or long-term visits. FORCE will provide training and hands-on experience for students and other scientists coming from a wide variety of scientific and cultural backgrounds. Users will also be able to gain access to the many other synthesis and analytical facilities at ASU.