Re-entrant layer reconstruction during intercalation in hafnium nitride chloride

Vincent Meignen, Judith Oró-Solé, William Bonin, Mathieu Morcrette, M. Rosa Palacín, J. Paul Attfield, Amparo Fuertes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An unprecedented re-entrant mechanism in which HfNCl host layers transform to an alternative geometry and then revert to their original structure, has been discovered during the synthesis of superconducting Na0.5HfNCl by ultra-slow electrochemical intercalation of sodium. Both the host and final product contain hexagonal β-HfNCl layers although the stacking sequence changes during a complex reaction sequence involving four intermediate phases. Restacking occurs through a displacive mechanism in which β-type layers transform to a different arrangement, most likely the rectangular layers found in the α-HfNCl polymorph, and then retransform to β-layers. These results reveal that intercalation reactions may proceed by very different mechanisms to those expected in the conventional 'slab-gliding' picture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2974-2978
Number of pages5
JournalChemical Science
Issue number8
Early online date31 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


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