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September 9, 2019

Chemistry pioneer sets her sights on rare earth oxides

Investigating high temperature materials critical to everyday electronics

Renowned chemist, geochemist and materials scientist Alexandra Navrotsky has become a pioneer in her field over the last 50 years. She even has a mineral named after her -- Navrotskyite. With support from NSF, Navrotsky and her team at the University of California, Davis, (moving to Arizona State University) have invented an instrument to study high temperature materials, including rare earth oxides. These materials are in many of the electronics we take for granted, such as cellphones, batteries and lights, but they're also in limited supply. Navrotsky's lab is coming up with new ways to study the structure and stability of these critical materials, particularly at very high temperatures, where they glow and melt.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF grant #1506229, "SusChEM: Collaborative Research: experimental and computational study of structure and thermodynamics of rare earth oxides above 2000 C."

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Kate Tobin, Science Nation Producer

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