Friday, November 16, 2012

1211.3644 (Weiwei Zhang et al.)

Unexpected stable stoichiometries of sodium chlorides    [PDF]

Weiwei Zhang, Artem R. Oganov, Alexander F. Goncharov, Qiang Zhu, Salah Eddine Boulfelfel, Andriy O. Lyakhov, Maddury Somayazulu, Vitali B. Prakapenka
At ambient pressure, sodium, chlorine, and their only known compound NaCl, have well-understood crystal structures and chemical bonding. Sodium is a nearly-free-electron metal with the bcc structure. Chlorine is a molecular crystal, consisting of Cl2 molecules. Sodium chloride, due to the large electronegativity difference between Na and Cl atoms, has highly ionic chemical bonding, with stoichiometry 1:1 dictated by charge balance, and rocksalt (B1-type) crystal structure in accordance with Pauling's rules. Up to now, Na-Cl was thought to be an ultimately simple textbook system. Here, we show that under pressure the stability of compounds in the Na-Cl system changes and new materials with different stoichiometries emerge at pressure as low as 25 GPa. In addition to NaCl, our theoretical calculations predict the stability of Na3Cl, Na2Cl, Na3Cl2, NaCl3 and NaCl7 compounds with unusual bonding and electronic properties. The bandgap is closed for the majority of these materials. Guided by these predictions, we have synthesized cubic NaCl3 at 55-60 GPa in the laser-heated diamond anvil cell at temperatures above 2000 K.
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