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Title: Toward Design Principles for Diffusionless Transformations: The Frustrated Formation of Co-Co Bonds in a Low-Temperature Polymorph of GdCoSi2

Diffusionless (or displacive) phase transitions allow inorganic materials to show exquisite responsiveness to external stimuli, as is illustrated vividly by the superelasticity, shape memory, and magnetocaloric effects exhibited by martensitic materials. In this Article, we present a new diffusionless transition in the compound GdCoSi2, whose origin in frustrated bonding points toward generalizable design principles for these transformations. We first describe the synthesis of GdCoSi2 and the determination of its structure using single crystal X-ray diffraction. While previous studies based on powder X-ray diffraction assigned this compound to the simple CeNi1–xSi2 structure type (space group Cmcm), our structure solution reveals a superstructure variant (space group Pbcm) in which the Co sublattice is distorted to create zigzag chains of Co atoms. DFT-calibrated Hückel calculations, coupled with a reversed approximation Molecular Orbital (raMO) analysis, trace this superstructure to the use of Co–Co isolobal bonds to complete filled 18 electron configurations on the Co atoms, in accordance with the 18–n rule. The formation of these Co–Co bonds is partially impeded, however, by a small degree of electron transfer from Si-based electronic states to those with Co–Co σ* character. The incomplete success of Co–Co bond creation suggests that these interactions are relatively weak, opening themore » possibility of them being overcome by thermal energy at elevated temperatures. In fact, high-temperature powder and single crystal X-ray diffraction data, as well as differential scanning calorimetry, indicate that a reversible Pbcm to Cmcm transition occurs at about 380 K. This transition is diffusionless, and the available data point toward it being first-order. We expect that similar cases of frustrated interactions could be staged in other rare earth–transition metal–main group phases, providing a potentially rich source of compounds exhibiting diffusionless transformations and the unique properties these transitions mediate.« less
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  1. UW
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Inorg. Chem.; Journal Volume: 55; Journal Issue: (12) ; 06, 2016
Research Org:
Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States