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Similar to the widespread interest in graphite and diamond, there is growing interest in metastable phases, which have different physical properties than those of stable phases. However, processes to fabricate metastable-phase materials are highly limited. New findings have been published in the latest issue of Nature about the development of a new metastable-phase synthesis method, which can drastically improve the physical properties of various materials.

A research team led by Dr. Chun, Dong Won at the Clean Energy Research Division, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST; President: Yoon, Seok Jin), announced that they successfully developed a new advanced metastable-phase palladium hydride (PdHx) material. Furthermore, they identified its .

A metastable-phase material has more thermodynamic than that in the stable phase but requires substantial energy to attain the stable phase, unlike most other materials, which exist in the stable phase with low thermodynamic energy. The research team directly synthesized a metal hydride by growing a material that can store under a suitable hydrogen atmosphere, without dispersing hydrogen within a metal. Notably, they successfully developed a metastable-phase metal hydride with a new crystal structure. Further, they confirmed that the developed metastable-phase material had good thermal stability and twice the hydrogen storage capacity of a stable-phase material.

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