Methodological innovation and advancement are the fundamental prerequisites to compete at a very high scientific level and to play a leading role in a scientific discipline. The development and improvement of experimental apparatus and designs are particularly important for the Bayerisches Geoinstitut, serving, in part, also as a central international facility in experimental geochemistry and geophysics. Methodological developments are a time-consuming challenge and require a continuous high technical and financial support, both of which are provided at the Bayerisches Geoinstitut.
In the past year, we have continued our efforts (1) to develop, improve, and modify high pressure/high temperature apparatus, pushing them towards new experimental limits and (2) to improve computational methods simulating experimental data. The novel experimental apparatus enable us to measure in-situ the physical properties of Earth materials at mantle conditions and to reach previously unattainable synthesis conditions in PT space. The construction of a sapphire conversion buffer rod for measuring the complete set of elastic constants of magnesiowüstite in a diamond anvil cell is well advancing. A new opposed anvil Drickamer apparatus using sintered diamonds as anvils is currently tested and developed for the synthesis of high-pressure phases at pressures well in excess of 25 GPa. Composite spheres with a silicate rim and a metallic core are machined in our preparation laboratory and serve as probes for measuring the viscosity and density of liquids at high pressures in rising/falling sphere experiments. In-situ measurements of electrical conductivity enable us to monitor the progression of phase transformations in real time. Comparison of experimental and theoretical NMR results underline the recent progress in numerically exact computations of NMR spectra. In detail, these projects are described below.