Single Crystal Structure Determination of Alumina to 1 Mbar
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Aluminum oxide (Al2O3) is an important ceramic material and a major oxide in the earth. Additionally, alumina is a widely used pressure standard in static high-pressure experiments (Cr3+-bearing corundum, ruby). The changes of its crystal structure with pressure (P) and temperature (T) are important for its applications and understanding its physical properties in the deep Earth. There have been numerous reports on the high P-T polymorphs of alumina. Previous theoretical calculations and experiments suggest that the crystal structure of Al2O3 evolves greatly at high P-T. In this study, we used the newly developed multigrain crystallography method combined with single-crystal x-ray diffraction analysis technique for the structure determination of alumina at high P-T to provide single-crystal structure refinement for high-pressure phases of Al2O3. Alumina powder was mixed with ~10% Pt and Ne was used as both pressure transmitting media and thermal insulating layers during laser-heating. Coarse-grained aggregates of Al2O3 were synthesized in a laser-heated diamond anvil cell. The structure change of Al2O3 was monitored by in situ x-ray diffraction at ~1 Mbar and 2700 K. The results allow us to distinguish the structural differences between the Rh2O3 (II) structure (space group Pbcn) and perovskite structure (space group Pbnm) for the first high-pressure phase of Al2O3. More detailed results will be discussed in the later work.