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1.  Synthesis of Tetragonal and Orthorhombic Polymorphs of Hf3N4 by High-Pressure Annealing of a Prestructured Nanocrystalline Precursor 
Hf3N4 in nanocrystalline form is produced by solution phase reaction of Hf(NEtMe)4 with ammonia followed by low-temperature pyrolysis in ammonia. Understanding of phase behavior in these systems is important because early transition-metal nitrides with the metal in maximum oxidation state are potential visible light photocatalysts. A combination of synchrotron powder X-ray diffraction and pair distribution function studies has been used to show this phase to have a tetragonally distorted fluorite structure with 1/3 vacancies on the anion sites. Laser heating nanocrystalline Hf3N4 at 12 GPa and 1500 K in a diamond anvil cell results in its crystallization with the same structure type, an interesting example of prestructuring of the phase during preparation of the precursor compound. This metastable pathway could provide a route to other new polymorphs of metal nitrides and to nitrogen-rich phases where they do not currently exist. Importantly it leads to bulk formation of the material rather than surface conversion as often occurs in elemental combination reactions at high pressure. Laser heating at 2000 K at a higher pressure of 19 GPa results in a further new polymorph of Hf3N4 that adopts an anion deficient cottunite-type (orthorhombic) structure. The orthorhombic Hf3N4 phase is recoverable to ambient pressure and the tetragonal phase is at least partially recoverable.
doi:10.1021/ja403368b
PMCID: PMC3715886  PMID: 23721167
2.  Coherent diffraction imaging of nanoscale strain evolution in a single crystal under high pressure 
Nature Communications  2013;4:1680-.
The evolution of morphology and internal strain under high pressure fundamentally alters the physical property, structural stability, phase transition and deformation mechanism of materials. Until now, only averaged strain distributions have been studied. Bragg coherent X-ray diffraction imaging is highly sensitive to the internal strain distribution of individual crystals but requires coherent illumination, which can be compromised by the complex high-pressure sample environment. Here we report the successful de-convolution of these effects with the recently developed mutual coherent function method to reveal the three-dimensional strain distribution inside a 400 nm gold single crystal during compression within a diamond-anvil cell. The three-dimensional morphology and evolution of the strain under pressures up to 6.4 GPa were obtained with better than 30 nm spatial resolution. In addition to providing a new approach for high-pressure nanotechnology and rheology studies, we draw fundamental conclusions about the origin of the anomalous compressibility of nanocrystals.
Extreme pressure can induce significant changes in a material’s mechanical response, but characterizing the evolution of these changes as they take place is challenging. Yang et al. demonstrate the use of coherent X-ray diffraction imaging to follow changes in the three-dimensional shape and strain fields within gold particles under pressure.
doi:10.1038/ncomms2661
PMCID: PMC3644065  PMID: 23575684
3.  Poly[ethyl­enediaminium [di-μ-aqua-(μ6-benzene-1,2,4,5-tetra­carboxyl­ato-κ10 O 1,O 1′:O 2,O 2′:O 2′:O 4,O 4′:O 5:O 5,O 5′)dithallium(I)]] 
The title compound, {(C2H10N2)[Tl2(C10H2O8)(H2O)2)]}n, was prepared using (enH2)2(btc)·2H2O and thallium(I) nitrate (en = ethyl­enediamine and btcH4 = benzene-1,2,4,5-tetra­carboxylic acid). The enH2 cation and btc ligand are each located on an inversion centre. The TlI atom is seven-coordinated by three btc ligands and two water mol­ecules in an irregular geometry due to the stereochemically active lone pair on the Tl centre. The water mol­ecule and btc ligand are bonded to the Tl atoms in μ- and μ6-forms, respectively, leading to a three-dimensional structure. The crystal structure involves O—H⋯O, N—H⋯O and C—H⋯O hydrogen bonds, and also a Tl⋯π inter­action of 3.537 (1) Å.
doi:10.1107/S1600536808040282
PMCID: PMC2967867  PMID: 21581492
4.  Novel structural phases and superconductivity of iridium telluride under high pressures 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6433.
Transition metal selenide and telluride have recently receive considerable attention due to their possible structural relation to ferropnictide. Pressure is often used as an efficient way to modify the crystal or electronic structure that in many cases lead to new material states of interest. Here we search the structures of IrTe2 up to 150 GPa using crystal structure prediction techniques combining with ab initio calculations. Three new stable phases under high pressures are predicted, and their electronic structure properties, phonon spectra, and electron-phonon couplings are also investigated. Significant reconstructions of band structures and Fermi surfaces are found in these new phases. Calculated results show that while the C2/m-2 phase has bad metal behavior and very weak electron-phonon coupling, the and I4/mmm phases have relatively higher electron-phonon coupling up to ~ 1.5 and 0.7, respectively. The variable-composition searching have been performed, newly compounds with different stoichiometries, such as IrTe3, IrTe, and Ir3Te, are predicted to be thermodynamically and dynamically stable at high pressures. The pressure range investigated here is accessible in the diamond anvil cell experiments, thus our results might stimulate further experimental studies.
doi:10.1038/srep06433
PMCID: PMC4170196  PMID: 25242541
5.  Vibrational, electronic and structural properties of wurtzite GaAs nanowires under hydrostatic pressure 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6472.
The structural, vibrational, and electronic properties of GaAs nanowires have been studied in the metastable wurtzite phase via Resonant Raman spectroscopy and synchrotron X-ray diffraction measurements in diamond anvil cells under hydrostatic conditions between 0 and 23 GPa. The direct band gap E0 and the crystal field split-off gap E0 + Δ of wurtzite GaAs increase with pressure and their values become close to those of zinc-blende GaAs at 5 GPa, while being reported slightly larger at lower pressures. Above 21 GPa, a complete structural transition from the wurtzite to an orthorhombic phase is observed in both Raman and X-ray diffraction experiments.
doi:10.1038/srep06472
PMCID: PMC4174565  PMID: 25253566
6.  Abnormal Elastic and Vibrational Behaviors of Magnetite at High Pressures 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6282.
Magnetite exhibits unique electronic, magnetic, and structural properties in extreme conditions that are of great research interest. Previous studies have suggested a number of transitional models, although the nature of magnetite at high pressure remains elusive. We have studied a highly stoichiometric magnetite using inelastic X-ray scattering, X-ray diffraction and emission, and Raman spectroscopies in diamond anvil cells up to ~20 GPa, while complementary electrical conductivity measurements were conducted in a cubic anvil cell up to 8.5 GPa. We have observed an elastic softening in the diagonal elastic constants (C11 and C44) and a hardening in the off-diagonal constant (C12) at ~8 GPa where significant elastic anisotropies in longitudinal and transverse acoustic waves occur, especially along the [110] direction. An additional vibrational Raman band between the A1g and T2g modes was also detected at the transition pressure. These abnormal elastic and vibrational behaviors of magnetite are attributed to the occurrence of the octahedrally-coordinated Fe2+-Fe3+-Fe2+ ions charge-ordering along the [110] direction in the inverse spinel structure. We propose a new phase diagram of magnetite in which the temperature for the metal-insulator and distorted structural transitions decreases with increasing pressure while the charge-ordering transition occurs at ~8 GPa and room temperature.
doi:10.1038/srep06282
PMCID: PMC4153994  PMID: 25186916
7.  Implementation of micro-ball nanodiamond anvils for high-pressure studies above 6 Mbar 
Nature Communications  2012;3:1163-.
Since invention of the diamond anvil cell technique in the late 1950s for studying materials at extreme conditions, the maximum static pressure generated so far at room temperature was reported to be about 400 GPa. Here we show that use of micro-semi-balls made of nanodiamond as second-stage anvils in conventional diamond anvil cells drastically extends the achievable pressure range in static compression experiments to above 600 GPa. Micro-anvils (10–50 μm in diameter) of superhard nanodiamond (with a grain size below ∼50 nm) were synthesized in a large volume press using a newly developed technique. In our pilot experiments on rhenium and gold we have studied the equation of state of rhenium at pressures up to 640 GPa and demonstrated the feasibility and crucial necessity of the in situ ultra high-pressure measurements for accurate determination of material properties at extreme conditions.
The study of materials at high pressure has been limited by the conditions achievable using single-crystal diamond anvils. The use of anvils that incorporate a second stage consisting of two hemispherical nanocrystalline diamond micro-balls, extends the range of static pressures that can be generated in the lab.
doi:10.1038/ncomms2160
PMCID: PMC3493652  PMID: 23093199
8.  Poly[{μ10-[(phosphono­meth­yl)imino­dimethyl­ene]diphospho­nato}dithallium(I)] 
The title compound, [Tl2(C3H10NO9P3)]n, a TlI organic–inorganic hybrid complex, was synthesized by the reaction of nitrilo­tris(methyl­enephospho­nic acid) with thallium(I) nitrate. There are two types of Tl+ ions in the complex, with coordination numbers of eight and seven and with stereochemically active and inactive lone-pair electrons, respectively. In the crystal, the doubly deprotonated ligands form two-dimensional hydrogen-bonded layers through O—H⋯O hydrogen bonds. The NH group is involved in a trifurcated intra­molecular hydrogen bond. Coordination of the phospho­nate ligands to the Tl+ ions creates a three-dimensional structure.
doi:10.1107/S1600536809031006
PMCID: PMC3007440  PMID: 21588121
9.  Glitch-free X-ray absorption spectrum under high pressure obtained using nano-polycrystalline diamond anvils 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2012;19(Pt 5):768-772.
Nano-polycrystalline diamond has been used to obtain a glitch-free X-ray absorption spectrum under high pressure. The advantage and capability of nano-polycrystalline diamond anvils is discussed by a comparison of the glitch map with that of single-crystal diamond anvils.
Nano-polycrystalline diamond (NPD) [Irifune et al. (2003 ▶), Nature (London), 421, 599] has been used to obtain a glitch-free X-ray absorption spectrum under high pressure. In the case of conventional single-crystal diamond (SCD) anvils, glitches owing to Bragg diffraction from the anvils are superimposed on X-ray absorption spectra. The glitch has long been a serious problem for high-pressure research activities using X-ray spectroscopy because of the difficulties of its complete removal. It is demonstrated that NPD is one of the best candidate materials to overcome this problem. Here a glitch-free absorption spectrum using the NPD anvils over a wide energy range is shown. The advantage and capability of NPD anvils is discussed by a comparison of the glitch map with that of SCD anvils.
doi:10.1107/S0909049512026088
PMCID: PMC3621395  PMID: 22898956
X-ray spectroscopy; high pressure; glitch; nano-polycrystalline diamond; diamond anvil cell
10.  A Novel Stable Binary BeB2 phase 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6993.
Potential crystal structures of BeB2 were explored using ab initio evolutionary simulations. A new phase with a Cmcm space group was uncovered. It was determined that the Cmcm phase is mechanically and dynamically stable and has a lower enthalpy, from ambient pressure up to 13 GPa, than any previously proposed phases, as measured using first-principles calculations. The crystal structure, phonon dispersion, phase transitions, and mechanical and electronic properties of this phase were investigated. It was determined that the Cmcm phase may transform into the phase at pressures higher than 13 GPa. The band structures and density of states reveal that the Cmcm phase is metallic. In addition, the Vickers hardness was calculated using three empirical models. To explain the origin of the hardness, charge density difference maps and a Mulliken population analysis were carried out, which demonstrated that there are strong covalent interactions between B atoms. By analyzing the Crystal Orbital Hamilton Population (COHP) diagrams, it was determined that the total interaction of the Be-B bonds is stronger than that of the B-B bonds, indicating a very complex bonding feature in the new phase. It was predicted that the new Cmcm phase is nearly absent of superconductivity.
doi:10.1038/srep06993
PMCID: PMC4227016  PMID: 25385147
11.  Identification of new pillared-layered carbon nitride materials at high pressure 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2122.
The compression of the layered carbon nitride C6N9H3·HCl was studied experimentally and with density functional theory (DFT) methods. This material has a polytriazine imide structure with Cl− ions contained within C12N12 voids in the layers. The data indicate the onset of layer buckling accompanied by movement of the Cl− ions out of the planes beginning above 10–20 GPa followed by an abrupt change in the diffraction pattern and c axis spacing associated with formation of a new interlayer bonded phase. The transition pressure is calculated to be 47 GPa for the ideal structures. The new material has mixed sp2–sp3 hybridization among the C and N atoms and it provides the first example of a pillared-layered carbon nitride material that combines the functional properties of the graphitic-like form with improved mechanical strength. Similar behavior is predicted to occur for Cl-free structures at lower pressures.
doi:10.1038/srep02122
PMCID: PMC3698513  PMID: 23817211
12.  Magnetic and structural transitions of SrFe2As2 at high pressure and low temperature 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3685.
One of key issues in studying iron based superconductors is to understand how the magnetic phase of the parent compounds evolves. Here we report the systematic investigation of paramagnetic to antiferromagnetic and tetragonal to orthorhombic structural transitions of “122” SrFe2As2 parent compound using combined high resolution synchrotron Mössbauer spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction techniques in a cryogenically cooled high pressure diamond anvil cell. It is found that although the two transitions are coupled at 205 K at ambient pressure, they are concurrently suppressed to much lower temperatures near a quantum critical pressure of approximately 4.8 GPa where the antiferromagnetic state transforms into bulk superconducting state. Our results indicate that the lattice distortions and magnetism jointly play a critical role in inducing superconductivity in iron based compounds.
doi:10.1038/srep03685
PMCID: PMC3890939  PMID: 24418845
13.  High-Pressure Synthesis and Characterization of New Actinide Borates, AnB4O8 (An=Th, U) 
New actinide borates ThB4O8 and UB4O8 were synthesized under high-pressure, high-temperature conditions (5.5 GPa/1100 °C for thorium borate, 10.5 GPa/1100 °C for the isotypic uranium borate) in a Walker-type multianvil apparatus from their corresponding actinide oxide and boron oxide. The crystal structure was determined on basis of single-crystal X-ray diffraction data that were collected at room temperature. Both compounds crystallized in the monoclinic space group C2/c (Z=4). Lattice parameters for ThB4O8: a=1611.3(3), b=419.86(8), c=730.6(2) pm; β=114.70(3)°; V=449.0(2) Å3; R1=0.0255, wR2=0.0653 (all data). Lattice parameters for UB4O8: a=1589.7(3), b=422.14(8), c=723.4(2) pm; β=114.13(3)°; V=443.1(2) Å3; R1=0.0227, wR2=0.0372 (all data). The new AnB4O8 (An=Th, U) structure type is constructed from corner-sharing BO4 tetrahedra, which form layers in the bc plane. One of the four independent oxygen atoms is threefold-coordinated. The actinide cations are located between the boron–oxygen layers. In addition to Raman spectroscopic investigations, DFT calculations were performed to support the assignment of the vibrational bands.
doi:10.1002/chem.201302378
PMCID: PMC4068220  PMID: 24123698
actinides; borates; density functional theory; high-pressure chemistry; Raman spectroscopy
14.  Unusual Compression Behavior of Nanocrystalline CeO2 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4441.
The x-ray diffraction study of 12 nm CeO2 was carried out up to ~40 GPa using an angle dispersive synchrotron-radiation in a diamond-anvil cell with different pressure transmitting medium (PTM) (4:1 methanol: ethanol mixture, silicone oil and none) at room temperature. While the cubic fluorite-type structure CeO2 was retained to the highest pressure, there is progressive broadening and intensity reduction of the reflections with increasing pressure. At pressures above 12 GPa, an unusual change in the compression curve was detected in all experiments. Significantly, apparent negative volume compressibility was observed at P = 18–27 GPa with silicone oil as PTM, however it was not detected in other circumstances. The expansion of the unit cell volume of cubic CeO2 was about 1% at pressures of 15–27 GPa. To explain this abnormal phenomenon, a dual structure model (hard amorphous shell and relatively soft crystalline core) has been proposed.
doi:10.1038/srep04441
PMCID: PMC3963033  PMID: 24658049
15.  Crystal structure of graphite under room-temperature compression and decompression 
Scientific Reports  2012;2:520.
Recently, sophisticated theoretical computational studies have proposed several new crystal structures of carbon (e.g., bct-C4, H-, M-, R-, S-, W-, and Z-carbon). However, until now, there lacked experimental evidence to verify the predicted high-pressure structures for cold-compressed elemental carbon at least up to 50 GPa. Here we present direct experimental evidence that this enigmatic high-pressure structure is currently only consistent with M-carbon, one of the proposed carbon structures. Furthermore, we show that this phase transition is extremely sluggish, which led to the observed broad x-ray diffraction peaks in previous studies and hindered the proper identification of the post-graphite phase in cold-compressed carbon.
doi:10.1038/srep00520
PMCID: PMC3400081  PMID: 22816043
16.  Conducting linear chains of sulphur inside carbon nanotubes 
Nature Communications  2013;4:2162.
Despite extensive research for more than 200 years, the experimental isolation of monatomic sulphur chains, which are believed to exhibit a conducting character, has eluded scientists. Here we report the synthesis of a previously unobserved composite material of elemental sulphur, consisting of monatomic chains stabilized in the constraining volume of a carbon nanotube. This one-dimensional phase is confirmed by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and synchrotron X-ray diffraction. Interestingly, these one-dimensional sulphur chains exhibit long domain sizes of up to 160 nm and high thermal stability (~800 K). Synchrotron X-ray diffraction shows a sharp structural transition of the one-dimensional sulphur occurring at ~450–650 K. Our observations, and corresponding electronic structure and quantum transport calculations, indicate the conducting character of the one-dimensional sulphur chains under ambient pressure. This is in stark contrast to bulk sulphur that needs ultrahigh pressures exceeding ~90 GPa to become metallic.
Elemental sulphur is an insulator in the bulk phase, although it may become conducting under ultrahigh-pressure conditions. Here, the authors report a one-dimensional conducting form of sulphur formed by encapsulation inside single-walled and double-walled carbon nanotubes.
doi:10.1038/ncomms3162
PMCID: PMC3717502  PMID: 23851903
17.  Novel Hydrogen Hydrate Structures under Pressure 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5606.
Gas hydrates are systems of prime importance. In particular, hydrogen hydrates are potential materials of icy satellites and comets, and may be used for hydrogen storage. We explore the H2O–H2 system at pressures in the range 0–100 GPa with ab initio variable-composition evolutionary simulations. According to our calculation and previous experiments, the H2O–H2 system undergoes a series of transformations with pressure, and adopts the known open-network clathrate structures (sII, C0), dense “filled ice” structures (C1, C2) and two novel hydrate phases. One of these is based on the hexagonal ice framework and has the same H2O:H2 ratio (2:1) as the C0 phase at low pressures and similar enthalpy (we name this phase Ih-C0). The other newly predicted hydrate phase has a 1:2 H2O:H2 ratio and structure based on cubic ice. This phase (which we name C3) is predicted to be thermodynamically stable above 38 GPa when including van der Waals interactions and zero-point vibrational energy, and explains previously mysterious experimental X-ray diffraction and Raman measurements. This is the hydrogen-richest hydrate and this phase has a remarkable gravimetric density (18 wt.%) of easily extractable hydrogen.
doi:10.1038/srep05606
PMCID: PMC4085642  PMID: 25001502
18.  Three-dimensional electron crystallography of protein microcrystals 
eLife  2013;2:e01345.
We demonstrate that it is feasible to determine high-resolution protein structures by electron crystallography of three-dimensional crystals in an electron cryo-microscope (CryoEM). Lysozyme microcrystals were frozen on an electron microscopy grid, and electron diffraction data collected to 1.7 Å resolution. We developed a data collection protocol to collect a full-tilt series in electron diffraction to atomic resolution. A single tilt series contains up to 90 individual diffraction patterns collected from a single crystal with tilt angle increment of 0.1–1° and a total accumulated electron dose less than 10 electrons per angstrom squared. We indexed the data from three crystals and used them for structure determination of lysozyme by molecular replacement followed by crystallographic refinement to 2.9 Å resolution. This proof of principle paves the way for the implementation of a new technique, which we name ‘MicroED’, that may have wide applicability in structural biology.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01345.001
eLife digest
X-ray crystallography has been used to work out the atomic structure of a large number of proteins. In a typical X-ray crystallography experiment, a beam of X-rays is directed at a protein crystal, which scatters some of the X-ray photons to produce a diffraction pattern. The crystal is then rotated through a small angle and another diffraction pattern is recorded. Finally, after this process has been repeated enough times, it is possible to work backwards from the diffraction patterns to figure out the structure of the protein.
The crystals used for X-ray crystallography must be large to withstand the damage caused by repeated exposure to the X-ray beam. However, some proteins do not form crystals at all, and others only form small crystals. It is possible to overcome this problem by using extremely short pulses of X-rays, but this requires a very large number of small crystals and ultrashort X-ray pulses are only available at a handful of research centers around the world. There is, therefore, a need for other approaches that can determine the structure of proteins that only form small crystals.
Electron crystallography is similar to X-ray crystallography in that a protein crystal scatters a beam to produce a diffraction pattern. However, the interactions between the electrons in the beam and the crystal are much stronger than those between the X-ray photons and the crystal. This means that meaningful amounts of data can be collected from much smaller crystals. However, it is normally only possible to collect one diffraction pattern from each crystal because of beam induced damage. Researchers have developed methods to merge the diffraction patterns produced by hundreds of small crystals, but to date these techniques have only worked with very thin two-dimensional crystals that contain only one layer of the protein of interest.
Now Shi et al. report a new approach to electron crystallography that works with very small three-dimensional crystals. Called MicroED, this technique involves placing the crystal in a transmission electron cryo-microscope, which is a fairly standard piece of equipment in many laboratories. The normal ‘low-dose’ electron beam in one of these microscopes would normally damage the crystal after a single diffraction pattern had been collected. However, Shi et al. realized that it was possible to obtain diffraction patterns without severely damaging the crystal if they dramatically reduced the normal low-dose electron beam. By reducing the electron dose by a factor of 200, it was possible to collect up to 90 diffraction patterns from the same, very small, three-dimensional crystal, and then—similar to what happens in X-ray crystallography—work backwards to figure out the structure of the protein. Shi et al. demonstrated the feasibility of the MicroED approach by using it to determine the structure of lysozyme, which is widely used as a test protein in crystallography, with a resolution of 2.9 Å. This proof-of principle study paves the way for crystallographers to study protein that cannot be studied with existing techniques.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01345.002
doi:10.7554/eLife.01345
PMCID: PMC3831942  PMID: 24252878
electron crystallography; electron diffraction; electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM); microED; protein structure; microcrystals; None
19.  Formation of Nanofoam carbon and re-emergence of Superconductivity in compressed CaC6 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:3331.
Pressure can tune material's electronic properties and control its quantum state, making some systems present disconnected superconducting region as observed in iron chalcogenides and heavy fermion CeCu2Si2. For CaC6 superconductor (Tc of 11.5 K), applying pressure first Tc increases and then suppresses and the superconductivity of this compound is eventually disappeared at about 18 GPa. Here, we report a theoretical finding of the re-emergence of superconductivity in heavily compressed CaC6. The predicted phase III (space group Pmmn) with formation of carbon nanofoam is found to be stable at wide pressure range with a Tc up to 14.7 K at 78 GPa. Diamond-like carbon structure is adhered to the phase IV (Cmcm) for compressed CaC6 after 126 GPa, which has bad metallic behavior, indicating again departure from superconductivity. Re-emerged superconductivity in compressed CaC6 paves a new way to design new-type superconductor by inserting metal into nanoporous host lattice.
doi:10.1038/srep03331
PMCID: PMC3840379  PMID: 24276612
20.  Experimental pressure-temperature phase diagram of boron: resolving the long-standing enigma 
Scientific Reports  2011;1:96.
Boron, discovered as an element in 1808 and produced in pure form in 1909, has still remained the last elemental material, having stable natural isotopes, with the ground state crystal phase to be unknown. It has been a subject of long-standing controversy, if α-B or β-B is the thermodynamically stable phase at ambient pressure and temperature. In the present work this enigma has been resolved based on the α-B-to- β-B phase boundary line which we experimentally established in the pressure interval of ∼4 GPa to 8 GPa and linearly extrapolated down to ambient pressure. In a series of high pressure high temperature experiments we synthesised single crystals of the three boron phases (α-B, β-B, and γ-B) and provided evidence of higher thermodynamic stability of α-B. Our work opens a way for reproducible synthesis of α-boron, an optically transparent direct band gap semiconductor with very high hardness, thermal and chemical stability.
doi:10.1038/srep00096
PMCID: PMC3216582  PMID: 22355614
21.  The effect of iron spin transition on electrical conductivity of (Mg,Fe)O magnesiowüstite 
We measured the electrical conductivity of Mg0.81Fe0.19O magnesiowüstite, one of the important minerals comprising Earth’s lower mantle, at high pressures up to 135 GPa and 300 K in a diamond-anvil cell (DAC). The results demonstrate that the electrical conductivity increases with increasing pressure to about 60 GPa and exhibits anomalous behavior at higher pressures; it conversely decreases to around 80 GPa and again increases very mildly with pressure. These observed changes may be explained by the high-spin to low-spin transition of iron in magnesiowüstite that was previously reported to occur in a similar pressure range. A very small pressure effect on the electrical conductivity above 80 GPa suggests that a dominant conduction mechanism changes by this electronic spin transition. The electrical conductivity below 2000-km depth in the mantle may be much smaller than previously thought, since the spin transition takes place also in (Mg,Fe)SiO3 perovskite.
PMCID: PMC3756880  PMID: 24019587
electrical conductivity; high-pressure; magnesiowüstite; spin transition
22.  Superconductivity in Strong Spin Orbital Coupling Compound Sb2Se3 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6679.
Recently, A2B3 type strong spin orbital coupling compounds such as Bi2Te3, Bi2Se3 and Sb2Te3 were theoretically predicated to be topological insulators and demonstrated through experimental efforts. The counterpart compound Sb2Se3 on the other hand was found to be topological trivial, but further theoretical studies indicated that the pressure might induce Sb2Se3 into a topological nontrivial state. Here, we report on the discovery of superconductivity in Sb2Se3 single crystal induced via pressure. Our experiments indicated that Sb2Se3 became superconductive at high pressures above 10 GPa proceeded by a pressure induced insulator to metal like transition at ~3 GPa which should be related to the topological quantum transition. The superconducting transition temperature (TC) increased to around 8.0 K with pressure up to 40 GPa while it keeps ambient structure. High pressure Raman revealed that new modes appeared around 10 GPa and 20 GPa, respectively, which correspond to occurrence of superconductivity and to the change of TC slop as the function of high pressure in conjunction with the evolutions of structural parameters at high pressures.
doi:10.1038/srep06679
PMCID: PMC4202213  PMID: 25327696
23.  Dynamics of NO Motion in Solid-State [Co(TPP)(NO)] 
Inorganic chemistry  2010;49(14):6552-6557.
The temperature dependence of the crystalline phase of (nitrosyl)(tetraphenylporphinato)-cobalt(II), [Co(TPP)(NO)], has been explored over the temperature range of 100–250 K by X-ray diffraction experiments. The crystalline complex is found in the tetragonal crystal system at higher temperatures and in the triclinic crystal system at lower temperatures. In the tetragonal system, the axial ligand is strongly disordered, with the molecule having crystallographically required 4/m symmetry, leading to eight distinct positions of the single nitrosyl oxygen atom. The phase transition to the triclinic crystal system leads to a partial ordering with the molecule now having inversion symmetry and disorder of the axial nitrosyl ligand over only two positions. At an intermediate temperature near the transition point, a transition structure in which the ordering observed at lower temperatures is only partially complete has been characterized. The increase in ordering allows subtle molecular geometry features to be observed. The transition of the reversible phase change begins at about 195 K. This transition has been confirmed by both X-ray diffraction studies and a differential scanning calorimetry study.
doi:10.1021/ic1003462
PMCID: PMC2912455  PMID: 20545325
24.  Orientational disorder and phase transitions in crystals of (NH4)2NbOF5  
Structural phase transitions in a crystal of (NH4)2NbOF5 are the consequence of dynamic changes in its structural units as the temperature decreases. Using X-ray diffraction, it is possible to identify O and F atoms in the disordered structure of (NH4)2NbOF5 as a result of its dynamic nature.
Ammonium oxopentafluoroniobate, (NH4)2NbOF5, was synthesized in a single-crystal form and the structures of its different phases were determined by X-ray diffraction at three temperatures: phase (I) at 297 K, phase (II) at 233 K and phase (III) at 198 K. The distorted [NbOF5]2− octahedra are of similar geometry in all three structures, with the central atom shifted towards the O atom. The structure of (I) is disordered, with three spatial orientations of the [NbOF5]2− octahedron related by a jump rotation around the pseudo-threefold local axis such that the disorder observed is of a dynamic nature. As the temperature decreases, the compound undergoes two phase transitions. The first is accompanied by full anionic ordering and partial ordering of the ammonium groups (phase II). The structure of (III) is completely ordered. The F and O atoms in the structures investigated were identified via the Nb—X (X = O and F) distances. The crystals of all three phases are twinned.
doi:10.1107/S0108768108021289
PMCID: PMC2553555  PMID: 18799840
ammonium oxopentafluoroniobate; distorted octahedra; dynamic orientational disorder; phase transitions; twinning; vibrational spectra
25.  Large amplitude fluxional behaviour of elemental calcium under high pressure 
Scientific Reports  2012;2:372.
Experimental evidences are presented showing unusually large and highly anisotropic vibrations in the “simple cubic” (SC) unit cell adopted by calcium over a broad pressure ranging from 30–90 GPa and at temperature as low as 40 K. X-ray diffraction patterns show a preferential broadening of the (110) Bragg reflection indicating that the atomic displacements are not isotropic but restricted to the [110] plane. The unusual observation can be rationalized invoking a simple chemical perspective. As the result of pressure-induced s → d transition, Ca atoms situated in the octahedral environment of the simple cubic structure are subjected to Jahn-Teller distortions. First-principles molecular dynamics calculations confirm this suggestion and show that the distortion is of dynamical nature as the cubic unit cell undergoes large amplitude tetragonal fluctuations. The present results show that, even under extreme compression, the atomic configuration is highly fluxional as it constantly changes.
doi:10.1038/srep00372
PMCID: PMC3330680  PMID: 22523635

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