Hélène Breton

Researcher at Department of Earth Sciences, Mineralogy Petrology and Tectonics

Visiting address:
Geocentrum, Villavägen 16
752 36 Uppsala
Postal address:
Villavägen 16
752 36 UPPSALA

Short presentation

I combine x-ray scattering diffraction and physical properties measurements to investigate the behaviour of materials to extreme pressures in the diamond anvil cell, which often leads to the discovery of new phases and phenomena of technological interests.


Keywords: x-ray diffraction crystal structure thermodynamics pressure diamond anvil cell equation of state applied mineralogy green technology

Postdoc high-pressure physics, Uppsala University, 2020-now

Postdoc high-pressure mineral physics, Edinburgh University, UK, 2017-2019

PhD., Glasgow University (Earth & Planetary Sciences), UK, 2013-2018

M.Sc., ETH Zurich, Switzerland (Mineralogy and Geochemistry), 2010-2012

B.Sc., Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse, France (Earth & Environmental Sciences), 2007-2010

I study high pressure and high/low temperature states of matter in the laboratory to address questions of scientific and technological interest.

I am interested in materials relevant to natural systems such as minerals as well as to technologies such as novel thermoelectric materials. I develop and use static and ultrafast methods to create, sustain, and study in situ the extreme states of matter along and through equilibrium phase boundaries. These methods use the diamond-anvil cell (static compression) and piezoacuators (dynamic compression) to generate the extreme conditions of pressure. For this, I visit international facilities for access to synchrotron radiation, and other special instrumentations. By combining the diamond anvil cell with either laser heating or powerful cryostats, I characterize the fundamental properties of materials including crystal phases, structure and strength as well as elastic moduli and examine how extreme conditions can help us to understand and tailor properties of minerals for advanced technological applications in the energy and material sectors.

My current research interests focus on quasicrystals which can now be found in nature including in carbonaceous chondrites (the oldest meteorites in our solar system). These include understanding the dramatic geological processes responsible for the formation of quasicrystals in the early, distant solar system (likely during hypervelocity impacts amongst asteroids) as well as clarifying prime correlations between aperiodic structure and physical properties and phenomena in quasiperiodic crystals (i.e. thermal and electronic transport properties) which show great potential for environmentally-friendly technological applications such as thermoelectric energy conversion technologies.

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Hélène Breton