It is a device for producing very high pressures. It is a sample
of material to be subject to the high pressure is
placed in a cavity between two-high quality diamonds.
The diamond-anvil cell operates like a nutcracker,
with pressures up to 1 megabar
(11 Pa) being exerted by turning a screw. The pressure
exerted can be determined by spectroscopy for small
samples of ruby in the material being compressed,
while the sample itself is observed optically.
of the diamond-anvil cell is to study the insulator-metal
transition in such substances as iodine as the pressure
is increased. This type of study is the nearest laboratory
approach to the structure of matter in the conditions
obtaining in the interior of the earth.