Steven D. Jacobsen Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Research Interests

Professor Steven D. Jacobsen applies mineral physics to problems in high-pressure physics and chemistry, geophysics, geochemistry, and materials science. Using gem diamonds as transparent superhard anvils, pressures in excess of 100 GPa are generated in his Northwestern laboratory. High-pressure science is an important area of applied materials and energy research because elements and compounds adopt novel structures and properties at extreme conditions. Professor Jacobsen employs ultrasonic methods, IR and Raman spectroscopy, X-ray and neutron diffraction, and synchrotron radiation techniques at the Advanced Photon Source to probe the structure and physical properties of Earth and applied materials. His recent research has included study of electronic spin transitions of iron at high pressures, IR-reflectivity of solid and liquid methane with application to hydrocarbon lakes on Titan, elastic properties of superhard CVD-diamond, and water incorporation into high-pressure silicates of the Earth’s deep mantle, which may have played a critical role in the evolution of our habitable planet.

Selected Publications

Chang, Y.Y., S.D. Jacobsen, M. Kimura, T. Irifune, and I. Ohno (2014) Elastic properties of transparent nano-polycrystalline diamond measured by GHz-ultrasonic interferometry and resonant sphere methods. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 228, 47-55.

Chang, Y.Y., S.D. Jacobsen, J.F. Lin, C.R. Bina, S.M. Thomas, J. Wu, G. Shen, Y. Xiao, P. Chow, D.J. Frost, C.A. McCammon, and P. Dera (2013) Spin transition of Fe3+ in Al-bearing phase D: an alternative explanation for small-scale seismic scatterers in the mid-lower mantle. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 382, 1-9.

Adams, K.A., S.D. Jacobsen, Z. Liu, S.M. Thomas, M. Somayazulu, and D.M., Jurdy Optical reflectivity of solid and liquid methane: application to spectroscopy of Titan's hydrocarbon lakes, Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L04309 (2012).

Jacobsen, S.D. Z. Liu, T.B. Ballaran, E.F. Littlefield, L. Ehm, and R.J. Hemley, Effect of H2O on upper mantle phase transitions in MgSiO3: is the depth of the seismic X-discontinuity an indicator of mantle water content? Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 183, 234-244 (2010).

Crowhurst, J.C., J.M. Brown, A.F. Goncharov and S.D. Jacobsen, Elasticity of (Mg,Fe)O through the spin transition of iron in the lower mantle, Science, 319, 451-453 (2008).

Goncharov, A.F., B.D. Haugen, V.V. Struzhkin, P. Beck and S.D. Jacobsen, Radiative conductivity in the Earth's lower mantle, Nature, 456, 231-234 (2008).

Jacobsen, S.D., F. Jiang, Z. Mao, T.S. Duffy, J.R. Smyth, C.M. Holl, and D.J. Frost, Effects of hydration on the elastic properties of olivine, Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L14303 (2008).

Lin, J.F., G. Vanko, S.D. Jacobsen, V. Iota, V.V. Struzhkin, V.B. Prakapenka, A. Kunznetsov and C.-S. Yoo, Spin transition zone in Earth's lower mantle, Science, 317, 1740-1743 (2007).

Jacobsen, S.D., Effect of water on the equation of state of nominally anhydrous minerals, Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry, 62, 321-342 (2006).