Ammonium fluoride’s analogy to ice: possibilities and limitations

L J Conway, K Brown, J. S. Loveday, A. Hermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ammonium fluoride, NH4F, is often seen as an analogue to ice, with several of its solid phases closely resembling known ice phases. While its ionic and hydrogen-ordered nature puts topological constraints on the ice-like network structures it can form, it is not clear what consequences these constraints have for NH4F compound formation and evolution. Here, we explore computationally the reach and eventual limits of the ice analogy for ammonium fluoride. By combining data mining of known and hypothetical ice networks with crystal structure prediction and density functional calculations we explore the highpressure phase diagram of NH4F and host-guest compounds of its hydrides. Pure NH4F departs from ice-like behaviour above 80 GPa with the emergence of close-packed ionic structures. The predicted stability of NH4F hydrides shows that NH4F can act as host to small guest species, albeit in a topologically severely constraint configuration space.
Finally, we explore the binary NH3–HF chemical space, where we find candidate structures for several unsolved polyfluoride phases, among them the chemical analogue to H2O2 dihydrate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number204501
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Chemical Physics
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021


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