Experimental observation of an atomic hydrogen material with H H bond distance of 150 pm suggesting metallic hydrogen
A phase of hydrogen Rydberg matter (RM) is formed in ultra-high vacuum by desorption of hydrogen from an alkali promoted RM emitter (Holmlid 2002 J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 14 13469). The RM phase is studied by pulsed laser-induced Coulomb explosions which is the best method for detailed studies of the RM clusters. This method gives direct information about the bonding distances in RM from the kinetic energy release in the explosions. At pressures >10-6 mbar hydrogen, H* Rydberg atoms are released with an energy of 9.4 eV. This gives a bonding distance of 150 ± 8 pm which corresponds to a metallic phase of atomic hydrogen using the results by Chau et al (2003 Phys. Rev. Lett. 90 245501). The results indicate that a partial 3D structure is formed.