High-Pressure Synthesis, Amorphization, and Decomposition of Silane

Michael Hanfland*, John E. Proctor, Christophe L. Guillaume, Olga Degtyareva, Eugene Gregoryanz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By compressing elemental silicon and hydrogen in a diamond anvil cell, we have synthesized polymeric silicon tetrahydride (SiH(4)) at 124 GPa and 300 K. In situ synchrotron x-ray diffraction reveals that the compound forms the insulating I4(1)/a structure previously proposed from ab initio calculations for the high-pressure phase of silane. From a series of high-pressure experiments at room and low temperature on silane itself, we find that its tetrahedral molecules break up, while silane undergoes pressure-induced amorphization at pressures above 60 GPa, recrystallizing at 90 GPa into the polymeric crystal structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095503
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2011


  • SIH4


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