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Recovery of Metastable Dense Bi Synthesized by Shock Compression

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Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Physics Letters
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2019

Abstract

X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) sources have revolutionized our capability to study ultrafast material behavior. Using an XFEL, we revisit the structural dynamics of shock compressed bismuth, resolving the transition sequence on shock release in unprecedented details. Unlike previous studies that found the phase-transition sequence on shock release to largely adhere to the equilibrium phase diagram (i.e., Bi-V → Bi-III → Bi-II → Bi-I), our results clearly reveal previously unseen, non-equilibrium behavior at these conditions. On pressure release from the Bi-V phase at 5 GPa, the Bi-III phase is not formed but rather a new metastable form of Bi. This new phase transforms into the Bi-II phase which in turn transforms into a phase of Bi which is not observed on compression. We determine this phase to be isostructural with β-Sn and recover it to ambient pressure where it exists for 20 ns before transforming back to the Bi-I phase. The structural relationship between the tetragonal β-Sn phase and the Bi-II phase (from which it forms) is discussed. Our results show the effect that rapid compression rates can have on the phase selection in a transforming material and show great promise for recovering high-pressure polymorphs with novel material properties in the future.

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