Steve Jacobsen is the CDAC Academic Partner from Northwestern University. He is a mineralogist specializing in experimental mineral physics, which applies atomic-scale structure and physical properties of materials to understand global-scale processes in solid-Earth geophysics and geochemistry, planetary science, as well as high-pressure physical chemistry and materials science.
Using diamond-anvil cells, he investigates how pressure modifies fundamental properties of materials such as structure, bonding, and elasticity, with emphasis on the role of defects in crystals. Hydrogen defects in minerals, stabilized at high pressures of the deep mantle, could represent the largest geochemical reservoir of H2O in the Earth and influenced the evolution of our habitable planet. Using high-pressure ultrasonic methods, he is developing tools for remote detection of water in the mantle from seismic imaging of the Earth’s interior. Other topics in his lab include properties of novel superhard materials for future technological applications, elastic properties of glasses, spectroscopy of planetary ices, and the role of hydrogen, carbon, and other volatiles in Earth and planetary materials and processes.