Stability limits and transformation pathways of α -quartz under high pressure

Q. Y. Hu, J. F. Shu, W. G. Yang, C. Park, M. W. Chen, T. Fujita, H. K. Mao, H. W. Sheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Ubiquitous on Earth, α-quartz plays an important role in modern science and technology. However, despite extensive research in the past, the mechanism of the polymorphic transitions of α-quartz at high pressures remains poorly understood. Here, combining in situ single-crystal x-ray diffraction experiment and advanced ab initio modeling, we report two stability limits and competing transition pathways of α-quartz under high pressure. Under near-equilibrium compression conditions at room temperature, α-quartz transits to a new P2/c silica phase via a structural intermediate. If the thermally activated transition is kinetically suppressed, the ultimate stability of α-quartz is controlled by its phonon instability and α-quartz collapses into a different crystalline phase. Our studies reveal that pressure-induced solid-state transformation of α-quartz undergoes a succession of structural stability limits, due to thermodynamic and mechanical catastrophes, and exhibits a hierarchy of transition pathways contingent upon kinetic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104112
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 31

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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