Dr. Richard Secco

Mineral Physics

Rick Secco

Ph.D. Western
University, 1988
Office: BGS 0178
Labs: BGS 0127, 0132
Phone: 519-661-2111 x.84079
Fax: 519-661-3198
Email: secco@uwo.ca

Research Interests

My research interests are in Mineral Physics and Materials Science. We try to understand the effects of high pressures (P) and high/low temperatures (T) on solids and liquids as P and T perturb and present the promise of control of physical properties. We measure electrical, thermal, elastic properties of pure and alloys of transition metals in large volume presses (200 ton and 1000 ton cubic anvil presses; 500 ton and 3000 ton multi-anvil presses) at P up to 25GPa and T in the range 220-2500K. Our results are applied to core dynamics and evolution inside Earth and other terrestrial planetary bodies (Moon, Mercury, Mars, Ganymede, Europa) as well as to tailoring charge transport in materials for applications.

Selected Publications 

  • Berrada, M., Secco, R. A., and Yong, W., 2022, Resistivity of Solid and Liquid Fe-Ni-Si with Applications to the Cores of Earth, Mercury and Venus, Scientific Reports, 12, 9941,
  • Lenhart, E.M. and Secco, R.A., 2022, Implications for the Energy Source for an Early Dynamo in Vesta from Experiments on Electrical Resistivity of Liquid Fe-10wt%Ni at High Pressures, Icarushttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2022.114962
  • Sawyer, R.M., Nesbitt, H.W., Bancroft, G.M., Secco, R.A., Henderson, G.S., 2022
    Congruent dissolution of Al2O3 in a K-disilicate melt, with constraints on the reaction mechanism, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2022.121565
  • Berrada, M. and Secco, R.A., 2021. Review of Electrical Resistivity Measurements and Calculations of Fe and Fe-Alloys Relating to Planetary Cores. Frontiers in Earth Science, 1-21, https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2021.732289
  • Pan, Y., Yong, W., Secco, R.A., (2021) Electrical Conductivity of Aqueous NaCl at High Pressure and Low Temperature: Application to Deep Subsurface Oceans of Icy Moons. Geophysical Research Letters, p.e2021GL094020. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL094020
  • Berrada, M., Secco, R.A., Yong, W., (2021) Adiabatic heat flow in Mercury’s core from electrical resistivity measurements of liquid Fe-8.5wt%Si to 24GPa, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2021.117053
  • Littleton, J.A.H., Secco, R.A. and Yong, W. (2021). Thermal convection in the core of Ganymede inferred from liquid eutectic Fe-FeS electrical resistivity at high pressures. Crystals. 11(8): 875. DOI: 10.3390/cryst11080875
  • Littleton, J. A., Secco, R. A., and Yong, W. , 2021. Electrical Resistivity of FeS at High Pressures and Temperatures: Implications of Thermal Transport in the Core of  Ganymede.  Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets126(5),  https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JE006793
  • Pan, Y., Yong, W. and Secco, R.A., 2020. Electrical conductivity of aqueous magnesium sulfate at high pressure and low temperature with application to Ganymede's subsurface ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(21), p.e2020GL090192.
  • Berrada, M., Secco, R.A., Yong, W., Littleton, J.A.H., 2020, Electrical Resistivity Measurements of Fe-Si With Implications for the Early Lunar Dynamo, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 125, e2020JE006380. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JE006380
  • Officer, T. and Secco, R.A., 2020, Detection of high P,T transformational faulting in Fe2SiO4 via in-situ acoustic emission: Relevance to deep-focus earthquakes, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors,  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pepi.2020.106429
  • Berrada, M., Littleton, J.A.H., and Secco, R.A., 2019a, Smartphone Applications for Gravitational Acceleration Surveys: Part 1; The Physics Teacher, in press
  • Berrada, M., Littleton, J.A.H., and Secco, R.A., 2019b, Acceleration Surveys Using a Smartphone with Applications to Gravity and Mechanics: Part 2; The Physics Teacher, in press
  • Yong, W.,  Secco, R.A., Littleton, J.A.H., and Silber, R.E., 2019,  The Iron Invariance: Implications for Earth’s Core”, Geophysical Research Letters, 46. https://doi.org/ 10.1029/2019GL084485.
  • Silber, R.E., Secco, R.A., Yong, W. and Littleton, J.A.H., 2019, Heat flow in Earth's core from invariant electrical resistivity of Fe-Si on the melting boundary to 9 GPa: Do light elements matter?, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JB017375
  • Ezenwa, I.C. and Secco, R.A., 2019, Fe Melting Transition: Electrical Resistivity, Thermal Conductivity, and Heat Flow at the Inner Core Boundaries of Mercury and Ganymede, Crystals, 9, 359; http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cryst9070359
  • Littleton, J.A.H.,  Secco, R.A., Yong, W. and Berrada, M., 2019, Electrical resistivity and thermal conductivity of W and Re to 5GPa and 2300K, Journal of Applied Physics, 125, 135901; https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5066103
  • Yong, W., Lekin, K., Bauer, R., Tse, J.,Desgreniers, S., Secco, R.A., Hirao, N., Oakley, R.,  2019, Pancakes under Pressure: A Case Study on Isostructural Dithia- and Diselenadiazolyl Radical Dimers, Inorganic Chemistry,58, 3550-3557, DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.9b00142
  • Silber, R.E., Secco, R.A., Yong, W. and Littleton, J.A., 2018. Electrical resistivity of liquid Fe to 12 GPa: Implications for heat flow in cores of terrestrial bodies. Scientific reports, 8(1), p.10758. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-28921-w
  • Berrada, M., Secco, R.A., Yong, W., 2018, Decreasing Electrical Resistivity of Gold along the Melting Boundary up to 5GPa, High Pressure Research, pp.1-10. DOI 10.1080/08957959.2018.1493476
  • Littleton, J.A.H. and Secco, R.A., 2018, An Indoor Magnetic Exploration Survey, The Physics Teacher, in press, 2018
  • Littleton, J.A.H., Secco, R.A., Yong, W., 2018, Decreasing electrical resistivity of silver along the melting boundary up to 5 GPa, High Pressure Research, p1-8. https://doi.org/10.1080/08957959.2018.1435786
  • Lekin, K., Leitch, A.A., Assoud, A., Yong, W., Desmarais, J., Tse, J.S., Desgreniers, S., Secco, R.A. and Oakley, R.T., 2018. Benzoquinone-Bridged Heterocyclic Zwitterions as Building Blocks for Molecular Semiconductors and Metals. Inorganic Chemistry, 57(8), pp.4757-4770. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.8b00485
  • Secco R.A. , 2017, Thermal Conductivity and Seebeck Coefficient of Fe and Fe-Si Alloys: Implications for variable Lorenz number. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors. 265: 23-34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pepi.2017.01.005
  • Yong, W. and Secco, R.A., 2017, A Simple System for Low Temperature Experiments in a 3000 Ton Multi-Anvil Press. Reviews of Scientific Instruments, 88, 106106; https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4996900.
  • Silber R.E., Secco R.A., Yong W., 2017, Constant Electrical Resistivity of Ni Along the Melting Boundary up to 9 GPa. Journal of Geophysical Research, 122: 1-18. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2017JB014259
  • Ezenwa I.E. and Secco R.A., 2017, Invariant electrical resistivity of Co along the melting boundary. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 474: 120-127.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2017.06.032
  • Ezenwa I.E. and Secco R. A., 2017, Constant electrical resistivity of Zn along the melting boundary up to 5 GPa. High Pressure Research. 37(3): 1-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08957959.2017.1340473
  • Ezenwa I.E. and Secco R. A., 2017, Electronic Transition in Solid Nb at High Pressure and Temperature. Journal of Applied Physics. 121(22): 225903-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4985548
  • Ezenwa I.E., Secco R. A., Yong W., Pozzo M., Alfè D., 2017, Electrical resistivity of solid and liquid Cu up to 5 GPa: Decrease along the melting boundary. Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids. 110: 386-393. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpcs.2017.06.030
  • Mailman, A., Wong, J.W. L., Winter, S.M.,  Claridge, R. C. M., Robertson, C.M., Assoud, A., Yong, W., Steven, E., Dube, P.A., Tse, J.S.,  Desgreniers, S., Secco R.A. and Oakley, R.T., 2017, Fine Tuning the Performance of Multiorbital Radical Conductors by Substituent Effects, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 139(4): 1625-1635. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b1177
  • Nesbitt, H. , Henderson, G. , Bancroft, M.G., Sawyer, R. and Secco, R.A., 2017, Oxygen speciation in K-silicate glasses and melts, with implications for spectroscopic studies and glass structure, Chemical Geology, 461, 13-22. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.11.026
  • Secco, R.A. and Sukara, R.E., 2016, Indoor Micro-Gravity Survey, The Physics Teacher,, v54,  213-215, http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.4944359   
  • Secco, R.A. and Yong, W., 2016, Low Temperature System for a Large Volume Multi-Anvil Press, Reviews of Scientific Instruments. 87(12): 123901-4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4969054
  • Williams, Q.,  Manghnani, M.H.,  Secco R.A. and Fu, S.S. , 2015, Limitations on Silicon in the Outer Core: Ultrasonic Measurements at High Temperatures and High dK/dP’s of Fe-Ni-Si Liquids at High Pressures, Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, 6846-6855; http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015JB012270
  • Tian, D., Winter, S.M., Mailman, A., Wong, J.W.L., Yong,W.,  Yamaguchi, H., Tse, J.S.,  Desgreniers, S., Secco, R.A., Julian, S.R., Jin, C., Mito, M., Ohishi, Y. and Oakley, R.T., 2015, The Metallic State in Neutral Radical Conductors: Dimensionality, Pressure and Multiple Orbital Effects, Journal of the American Chemical Society., v137, 14136−14148, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.5b08254
  • Nesbitt, H., Bancroft, G.M., Henderson, G., Sawyer, R. and Secco, R., 2015, Direct and Indirect Evidence for Free Oxygen (O2-) in MO-Silicate Glasses and Melts (M = Mg, Ca, Pb),  American Mineralogist, v100, 2566-2578.  http://dx.doi.org/10.2138/am-2015-5336
  • Nesbitt H.W. Bancroft, G.M., Thibault, Y. , Sawyer, R., Secco R.A., 2015, Reply to the comment by Malfait on “Spectroscopic studies of oxygen speciation in potassium silicate glasses and melts”, Canadian Journal of Chemistry,  93(5): 581-587, 10.1139/cjc-2014-0586.
  • Officer, T.O. and Secco, R.A., 2015, Detection of a P-induced liquid ⇌ solid phase transformation using multiple acoustic transducers in a multi-anvil apparatus, High Pressure Research,  DOI:10.1080/08957959.2015.1035715
  • Kiarasi, S. and Secco, R.A., 2015, Pressure-induced electrical resistivity saturation of Fe17Si, Physica Status Solidi B, 1–9; DOI 10.1002/pssb.201552029
  • Sawyer, R., Nesbitt, H.W., Bancroft,  G.M., Thibault, Y. and Secco, R.A. ,2015, Spectroscopic Studies of Oxygen Speciation in K-silicate Glasses and Melts, Canadian Journal of Chemistry, 93(1): 60-73, 10.1139/cjc-2014-0248v92
  • Lekin, K.,  Phan, H., Winter, S., Wong, J., Leitch, A., Laniel, D., Yong, W., Secco, R., Tse, J., Desgreniers, S., Dube, P., Shatruk, M., Oakley, R. ,2014, Heat, Pressure and Light-Induced Inter-conversion of Bisdithiazolyl Radicals and Dimers, Journal of the American Chemical Society  v136 (22), pp 8050–8062. dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja502753t
  • Wong, J., Mailman, A., Lekin, K., Winter, S., Yong, W., Zhao, J., Garimella, S., Tse, J., Secco, R.A., Desgreniers, S, Ohishi, Y., Borondics, F. and Oakley, R.T. , 2014, Pressure-Induced Phase Transitions and Metallization of a Neutral Radical Conductor, Journal of the American Chemical Society, v136, 1070-1081., dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja411057x
  • Yong,W. , Dachs, E., Benisek, A. and Secco, R.A. , 2014, Heat capacity and entropy of rutile and TiO2II: thermodynamic calculation of rutile-TiO2II transition boundary, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, v 226, 39-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pepi.2013.10.004

Courses Taught

  • Earth Sciences 1023/2123: Planet Earth: Shaken and Stirred / Dynamic Earth
  • Earth Sciences 3321: Physics of the Earth I
  • Earth Sciences 4424: Advanced Mineral Physics

Future Students

MSc and PhD research opportunities are available. Please contact Dr. Rick Secco (secco@uwo.ca)