Negative thermal expansion near two structural quantum phase transitions Connor




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Guzmán Verri, Gian Giacomo
Hancock, Jason N.

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Recent experimental work has revealed that the unusually strong, isotropic structural negative thermal expansion in cubic perovskite ionic insulator ScF3 occurs in excited states above a ground state tuned very near a structural quantum phase transition, posing a question of fundamental interest as to whether this special circumstance is related to the anomalous behavior. To test this hypothesis, we report an elastic and inelastic x-ray scattering study of a second system Hg2I2 also tuned near a structural quantum phase transition while retaining stoichiometric composition and high crystallinity. We find similar behavior and significant negative thermal expansion below 100 K for dimensions along the body-centered-tetragonal c axis, bolstering the connection between negative thermal expansion and zero-temperature structural transitions.We identify the common traits between these systems and propose a set of materials design principles that can guide discovery of newmaterials exhibiting negative thermal expansion


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quantum phase transitions, inelastic light scattering, x-ray diffraction