Pressure-induced changes in protactinium metal: Importance to actinide-metal bonding concepts

R. G. Haire, S. Heathman, M. Idiri, T. Le Bihan, A. Lindbaum, J. Rebizant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Protactinium occupies an important position in the actinide series of elements, as it represents the first of four elements (Pa-Pu) having 5f-electron character in their bonding at atmospheric pressure, We have determined in experimental studies with synchrotron radiation to 130 GPa, that the tetragonal structure of protactinium (space group 14/mmm) converts to an orthorhombic, alpha-uranium structure (space group Cmcm) at 77(5) GPa, where the atomic volume has been reduced by ∼30%. This structural change is interpreted as reflecting an increase in 5f-electron contribution to the bonding in protactinium over that initially present, becoming more similar to that present in alpha-uranium metal at atmospheric pressure, We determined experimentally that this structural transformation occurred at significantly higher pressures and at a smaller atomic volume than predicted by theory. The experimental results reported here represent the highest pressures under which protactinium metal has been studied.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134101
Pages (from-to)1341011-13410110
Number of pages12069100
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume67
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes

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