Volume 83, Number 2, July 2008
Article Number 26002
Number of page(s) 5
Section Condensed Matter: Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties
Published online 08 July 2008
EPL, 83 (2008) 26002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/83/26002

Flexibility window controls pressure-induced phase transition in analcime

A. Sartbaeva1, G. D. Gatta2 and S. A. Wells3

1  Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, University of Oxford - South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QR, UK, EU
2  Dipartimento Scienze della Terra, Università degli Studi di Milano - Via Botticelli 23, I-20133 Milano, Italy, EU
3  Department of Physics and Centre for Scientific Computing, University of Warwick - Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK, EU

received 9 May 2008; accepted in final form 5 June 2008; published July 2008
published online 8 July 2008

Analcime under pressure undergoes a phase transition at ~ 1.0 GPa from a cubic $(Ia \bar{3}d)$ form to a low-symmetry triclinic $(P\bar{1})$ form. We use geometric simulation to relate the pressure behavior of analcime to a recently discovered property of zeolite frameworks, the "flexibility window", defined as the range of densities over which the tetrahedral units in the framework can in principle be made geometrically ideal. Our results show that the range of stability of the cubic phase in analcime is defined by the flexibility window of the cubic framework. Analcime at low density can undergo tetragonal distortion while remaining within the flexibility window, consistent with experimental reports of non-cubic symmetries. On compression to higher densities, the capacity for tetragonal distortion is greatly reduced, accounting for the dramatic reduction in symmetry at the pressure-induced phase transition.

61.50.Ks - Crystallographic aspects of phase transformations; pressure effects.
64.60.Ej - Studies/theory of phase transitions of specific substances.
81.30.Hd - Constant-composition solid-solid phase transformations: polymorphic, massive, and order-disorder.

© EPLA 2008