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Pressure-enabled phonon engineering in metals


Understanding the pressure response of the electrical properties of metals provides a fundamental way of manipulating material properties for potential device applications. In particular, the electrical resistivity of a metal, which is an intrinsic property determined primarily by the interaction strength between electrons and collective lattice vibrations (phonons), can be reduced when the metal is pressurized. In this article, we show that first-principles calculations of the resistivity, as well as experimental measurements using a solid media piston–cylinder apparatus, predict a significant reduction in the electrical resistivity of aluminum and copper when subject to high pressure due primarily to the reduction in the electron–phonon interaction strength. This study suggests innovative ways of controlling transport phenomena in metals.