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Physics  2011 

Electric field induced nucleation: An alternative pathway to metallic hydrogen

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Electric field induced nucleation is introduced as a possible mechanism to realize a metallic phase of hydrogen. Analytical expressions are derived for the nucleation probabilities of both thermal and quantum nucleation in terms of material parameters, temperature, and the applied field. Our results show that the insulator-metal transition can be driven by an electric field within a reasonable temperature range and at much lower pressures than the current paradigm of P > 400 GPa. Both static and oscillating fields are considered and practical implementations are discussed.


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