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Inorg Chem. 2004 Oct 4;43(20):6151-8.

The Nowotny chimney ladder phases: following the c(pseudo) clue toward an explanation of the 14 electron rule.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Baker Laboratory, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-1301, USA.


We account for two empirical rules of the Nowotny chimney ladder phases (NCLs, intermetallic compounds of the form T(t)E(m); T, groups 4-9; E, groups 13-15). The first rule is that for late transition metal NCLs the total number of valence electrons per T atom is 14. The second is the appearance of a pseudoperiodicity with a spacing, c(pseudo), which is directly related to the stoichiometry, T(t)E(m), by (2t - m) c(pseudo)= c. Both rules are accounted for by viewing the NCLs as twinned structures constructed from blocks of the parent compound, RuGa(2) of thickness c(pseudo)/2, with the successive layers rotated relative to each other by 90 degrees. Sterically encumbered E atoms are then deleted at the interfaces between layers, followed by relaxation.

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