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 laser-heated diamond-anvil cells, and they also pursue shock-wave experiments and quantum mechanical calculations of material properties.
Raymond Jeanloz' group uses mineral physics to understand the properties and dynamics of planetary interiors. They helped obtain the first experimental constraints on the temperature at Earth's center, and showed that a single perovskite-structured mineral (stable only at pressures above 20 GPa) makes up the bulk of the rocky mantle. They also showed that the deep mantle reacts chemically with the liquid iron alloy of the outer core, making the core-mantle boundary one of Earth's most dynamic regions. Studies on carbon suggest that diamond may be hailing downward inside Neptune and Uranus.
Experiments applying laser-driven compression methods (shock, multi-shock and ramp loading) to samples pre-compressed in diamond-anvil cells are providing new information about the chemical bonding in crystals and fluids at deep-planetary conditions, and are extending laboratory compression experiments from the Megabar to the Gigabar range: beyond the atomic unit of pressure (294 Mbar), and into the regime of "kilovolt chemistry" that engages inner atomic orbitals in chemical bonding.
Raymond Jeanloz also works at the interface of science and policy, serving as an advisor to government, industry and academia, and chairing the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control. He is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.