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Chem Soc Rev. 2006 Oct;35(10):943-63. Epub 2006 Aug 30.

High-pressure structures and phase transformations in elemental metals.

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SUPA, School of Physics and Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions, University of Edinburgh, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JZ, U.K.

Erratum in

  • Chem Soc Rev. 2006 Dec;35(12):1341.


At ambient conditions the great majority of the metallic elements have simple crystal structures, such as face-centred or body-centred cubic, or hexagonal close-packed. However, when subjected to very high pressures, many of the same elements undergo phase transitions to low-symmetry and surprisingly complex structures, an increasing number of which are being found to be incommensurate. The present critical review describes the high-pressure behaviour of each of the group 1 to 16 metallic elements in detail, summarising previous work and giving the best present understanding of the structures and transitions at ambient temperature. The principal results and emerging systematics are then summarised and discussed.


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