Diamond anvil cell (DAC) is a convenient tool to subject small specimen (0.01 mm3) to high pressures (GPa to TPa). In the simplest form, it consists of two opposed diamond anvils pressing against each other with a metal gasket in between. The gasket encloses the specimen, pressure transmission fluid and a few ruby chips. The pressure transmission fluid transforms uniaxal compression to hydrostatic compression. Pressure inside the sample chamber is measured by the frequency of ruby R1 fluorescence.
In the Dlott lab, we used diamond anvil cell combined with laser spectroscopy to study molecules under static pressure. In addition, the static measurement will help us to interpret spectra obtained from the dynamic compression study. An example research project is given below.

In this project, we studied the Raman spectra form a monolayer of molecules adsorbed on metal surfaces under high pressure. Raman measurement could be difficult due to the small number density, which results in very weak Raman signal. This problem was overcome by using photonic substrates to amplify the Raman intensity (surface enhanced Raman scattering). In some cases, Raman signal from single dye molecules can be observed due to the large amplification, enabling us to study single molecule spectroscopy under high pressure.

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