Where is the Hydrogen?

How is hydrogen distributed among minerals and how is it bonded in their crystal structures? These are important questions, because the amount of hydrogen and the bonding configuration of hydrogen in crystalline materials governs many of that material’s properties: its thermal and compressional behavior, P–T phase stability, rheology, and electrical conductivity. A reliable reconstruction of the Earth’s interior, or the prediction of mineral transformations in complex industrial processes, must account for these parameters. Neutron diffraction can locate hydrogen sites in mineral structures, reveal any static or dynamic hydrogen disorder, help define the libration regime of hydrogen, and elucidate hydrogen-bonding configurations. Thus, that most elusive element for X-ray probes is perfectly detectable using neutrons.

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