Carnegie intern Pei-Nan Chen (Poolesville High School) was named a semifinalist in the 2011 Siemens Competition. He worked with CDAC Scientist Chang-sheng Zha and other CDAC scientists on the behavior of methane over a broad range of conditions of temperature and pressure using Raman and infrared spectroscopy. His research led to an identification of phase transitions of solid methane to pressures of 43 GPa (approximately 430,000 times atmospheric pressure). The results have been published in Physical Review B. He also has established an extended phase diagram of methane to pressures of 35 GPa and temperatures of 900 K with a melting curve 18 GPa higher than the early one. The obtained results have important implications for the formation of the ice layers of Uranus and Neptune and for understanding the concentration of hydrocarbons in the Earth [P. N. Chen et al., Phys. Rev. B 84, 104110 (2011)].
The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology recognizes remarkable talent early on, fostering individual growth for high school students who are willing to challenge themselves through science research. Through this competition, students have an opportunity to achieve national recognition for science research projects that they complete in high school. For additional information on this award please go to http://www.siemens-foundation.org/en/competition.htm.