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Inorg Chem. 2012 Apr 2;51(7):4161-9. doi: 10.1021/ic2024814. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

Phase range of the type-I clathrate Sr8Al(x)Si(46-x) and crystal structure of Sr8Al10Si36.

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Department of Chemistry, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, United States.


Samples of the type-I clathrate Sr(8)Al(x)Si(46-x) have been prepared by direct reaction of the elements. The type-I clathrate structure (cubic space group Pm3n) which has an Al-Si framework with Sr(2+) guest atoms forms with a narrow composition range of 9.54(6) ≤ x ≤ 10.30(8). Single crystals with composition A(8)Al(10)Si(36) (A = Sr, Ba) have been synthesized. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) measurements provide evidence for a peritectic reaction and melting point at ∼1268 and ∼1421 K for Sr(8)Al(10)Si(36) and Ba(8)Al(10)Si(36), respectively. Comparison of the structures reveals a strong correlation between the 24k-24k framework sites distances and the size of the guest cation. Electronic structure calculation and bonding analysis were carried out for the ordered models with the compositions A(8)Al(6)Si(40) (6c site occupied completely by Al) and A(8)Al(16)Si(30) (16i site occupied completely with Al). Analysis of the distribution of the electron localizability indicator (ELI) confirms that the Si-Si bonds are covalent, the Al-Si bonds are polar covalent, and the guest and the framework bonds are ionic in nature. The Sr(8)Al(6)Si(40) phase has a very small band gap that is closed upon additional Al, as observed in Sr(8)Al(16)Si(30). An explanation for the absence of a semiconducting "Sr(8)Al(16)Si(30)" phase is suggested in light of these findings.


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