HEMI Fellow June Wicks Contributes to the Formulation of New Mass-Radius Relationship for a Hypothetical Pure Iron Planet at Super-Earth Core Conditions

Apr 19, 2018 | No Comments | By Michelle Pagano

Congratulations to HEMI Fellow June K. Wicks (Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences), who, along with collaborators from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, Princeton, and the University of Rochester, has published the first experimentally-based mass radius relationship for a hypothetical pure iron planet at super-Earth core conditions.

The discovery, published earlier this week by Nature Astronomy, is hoped to be used to evaluate plausible composition of large, rocky exoplanets and aid with the formation of interior planetary models.

They measured the first absolute equation of state of iron to 1.4 TPa (14 million atmospheres) on the National Ignition Facility, the world’s largest and most energetic laser.

“The high-pressure behavior of iron metal is the anchor point for interpreting exoplanet observations,” Prof. Wicks says. “Now that we know the equation of state of iron, we can probe the effect of light element alloying on observable properties and explore the diversity of planetary cores in our universe.”

To read the paper in its entirety, visit www.nature.com/articles/s41550-018-0437-9.

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