The study of solids at high pressures and temperatures is an important area of modern condensed matter physics, chemistry, and materials science. The last decade has seen revolutionary developments in the field of high-pressure experimentation: new types of cells allow a wider range of experiments at higher pressures, and third-generation synchrotrons have brought the possibility of conducting X-ray diffraction experiments that were unthinkable only 10 years ago. In this review, we give some recent examples to illustrate how modern high-pressure tools, such as the diamond anvil cell (DAC), multianvil press, and shock compression, can be used to answer questions relevant to the synthesis of new advanced materials. Our examples will be related mostly to superhard materials.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(05)71159-7