American high-pressure research with large sample volumes developed rapidly in the 1950s during the race to produce synthetic diamonds. At that time the piston cylinder, girdle (or belt), and tetrahedral anvil devices were invented. However, this development essentially stopped in the late 1950s, and while the diamond anvil cell has been used extensively in the United States with spectacular success for high-pressure experiments in small sample volumes, most of the significant technological advances in large-volume devices have taken place in Japan. Over the past 25 years, these technical advances have enabled a fourfold increase in pressure, with many important investigations of the chemical and physical properties of materials synthesized at high temperatures and pressures that cannot be duplicated with any apparatus currently available in the United States.
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