Raymond Jeanloz and his group study the nature and evolution of planetary interiors, as well as the properties of materials at high pressures. Much of their work is based on experiments with the laser-heated diamond cell, but they also collaborate in shock-wave experiments and in quantum mechanical calculations of material properties.
The group uses mineral physics to understand the properties and dynamics of planetary interiors, and has focused on solid-state amorphization, hard materials and correlated-electron systems in the area of materials physics. They helped obtain the first experimental constraints on the temperature at the center of the Earth, and showed that a single perovskite-structured mineral (stable only at pressures above 20 GPa = 0.2 Megabar) makes up the bulk of the mantle. They have also shown that the crystalline oxides of the deep mantle react chemically with the liquid iron alloy of the outer core, thus making the core-mantle boundary one of the most dynamic regions of the Earth. Experiments applying laser-shock methods to samples pre-compressed in diamond-anvil cells are providing new information on chemical bonding at deep-planetary conditions, and can extend the range of laboratory compression experiments from the Megabar to the Gigabar regime.
Raymond Jeanloz also works in technical aspects of public policy, including resource and environmental issues, national and international security, and science education.