Stability of numerous novel potassium chlorides at high pressure

Weiwei Zhang*, Artem R. Oganov, Qiang Zhu, Sergey S. Lobanov, Elissaios Stavrou, Alexander F. Goncharov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

K-Cl is a simple system displaying all four main types of bonding, as it contains (i) metallic potassium, (ii) elemental chlorine made of covalently bonded Cl 2 molecules held together by van der Waals forces, and (iii) an archetypal ionic compound KCl. The charge balance rule, assigning classical charges of "+1" to K and "-1" to Cl, predicts that no compounds other than KCl are possible. However, our quantum-mechanical variable-composition evolutionary simulations predict an extremely complex phase diagram, with new thermodynamically stable compounds K3Cl, K2Cl, K3Cl2, K4Cl3, K5Cl4, K3Cl5, KCl3 and KCl7. Of particular interest are 2D-metallic homologs Kn+1 Cln, the presence of positively charged Cl atoms in KCl7, and the predicted stability of KCl3 already at nearly ambient pressures at zero Kelvin. We have synthesized cubic -KCl3 at 40-70 GPa and trigonal -KCl3 at 20-40 GPa in a laser-heated diamond anvil cell (DAC) at temperature exceeding 2000 K from KCl and Cl2. These phases were identified using in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. Upon unloading to 10 GPa, -KCl3 transforms to a yet unknown structure before final decomposition to KCl and Cl2 at near-ambient conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26265
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 23 May 2016
Externally publishedYes

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