U student Anne Schaeffer creates pressure chamber that tested two different samples of a superconductor simultaneously.

Testing Materials in Extreme Conditions

When Anne Schaeffer, a Ph.D. candidate in physics, wanted to study the properties of materials, specifically superconductors, under extreme conditions, she realized that she wouldn’t know the true effects unless they were tested concurrently. Her solution: create a method herself. With grant support, she created a pressure chamber that tested two different samples of a superconductor simultaneously. Comparing the samples allows scientists to spot the smallest differences among materials. Her new method has inspired her to continue studying the effects on lithium and how they change at low temperatures and high pressure.

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