Römer, Rebecca; Kroll, Peter; Schnick, Wolfgang
A density functional study of the high-pressure chemistry of MSiN2(M = Be,Mg, Ca). Prediction of high-pressure phases and examination of pressure-induced decomposition.
In: Journal of physics: Condensed matter, Vol. 21, No. 27: 275407-1-275407-9
Normal pressure modifications and tentative high-pressure phases of the nitridosilicates MSiN2 with M = Be, Mg, or Ca have been thoroughly studied by density functional methods. At ambient pressure, BeSiN2 and MgSiN2 exhibit an ordered wurtzite variant derived from idealized filled β-cristobalite by a C1-type distortion. At ambient pressure, the structure of CaSiN2 can also be derived from idealized filled β-cristobalite by a different type of distortion (D1-type). Energy–volume calculations for all three compounds reveal transition into an NaCl superstructure under pressure, affording sixfold coordination for Si. At 76 GPa BeSiN2 forms an LiFeO2-type structure, corresponding to the stable ambient-pressure modification of LiFeO2, while MgSiN2 and CaSiN2 adopt an LiFeO2-type structure, corresponding to a metastable modification (24 and 60 GPa, respectively). For both BeSiN2 and CaSiN2 intermediate phases appear (for BeSiN2 a chalcopyrite-type structure and for CaSiN2 a CaGeN2-type structure). These two tetragonal intermediate structures are closely related, differing mainly in their c/a ratio. As a consequence, chalcopyrite-type structures exhibit tetrahedral coordination for both cations (M and Si), whereas in CaGeN2-type structures one cation is tetrahedrally (Si) and one bisdisphenoidally (M) coordinated. Both structure types, chalcopyrite and CaGeN2, can also be derived from idealized filled β-cristobalite through a B1-type distortion. The group–subgroup relation of the BeSiN2/MgSiN2, the CaSiN2, the chalcopyrite, the CaGeN2 and the idealized filled β-cristobalite structure is discussed and the displacive phase transformation pathways are illustrated. The zero-pressure bulk moduli were calculated for all phases and have been found to be comparable to compounds such as α- Si3N4, CaIrO3 and Al4C3. Furthermore, the thermodynamic stability of BeSiN2, MgSiN2 and CaSiN2 against phase agglomerates of the binary nitrides M3N2 and Si3N4 under pressure are examined.