“I think this work is the beginning of a revolution in chemistry,” Oganov says. “We found, at low pressures achievable in the lab, perfectly stable compounds that contradict the classical rules of chemistry.
If you apply the rather modest pressure of 200,000 atmospheres—for comparison purposes, the pressure at the center of the earth is 3.6 million atmospheres—everything we know from chemistry textbooks falls apart.”
Among the compounds Oganov and his team created are two-dimensional metals, where electricity is conducted along the layers of the structure.
“One of these materials—Na3Cl—has a fascinating structure,” he says. “It is comprised of layers of NaCl and layers of pure sodium. The NaCl layers act as insulators; the pure sodium layers conduct electricity.
The more we learn, the less we know
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