High-pressure crystal structures and superconductivity of Stannane (SnH4)

Guoying Gao, Artem R. Oganov, Peifang Li, Zhenwei Li, Hui Wang, Tian Cui, Yanming Ma, Aitor Bergara, Andriy O. Lyakhov, Toshiaki Iitaka, Guangtian Zou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Citations (Scopus)


There is great interest in the exploration of hydrogen-rich compounds upon strong compression where they can become superconductors. Stannane (SnH 4) has been proposed to be a potential high-temperature superconductor under pressure, but its high-pressure crystal structures, fundamental for the understanding of superconductivity, remain unsolved. Using an ab initio evolutionary algorithm for crystal structure prediction, we propose the existence of two unique high-pressure metallic phases having space groups Ama2 and P63/mmc, which both contain hexagonal layers of Sn atoms and semimolecular (perhydride) H2 units. Enthalpy calculations reveal that the Ama2 and P63/mmc structures are stable at 96-180 GPa and above 180 GPa, respectively, while below 96 GPa SnH4 is unstable with respect to elemental decomposition. The application of the Allen-Dynes modified McMillan equation reveals high superconducting temperatures of 15-22 K for the Ama2 phase at 120 GPa and 52-62 K for the P63/mmc phase at 200 GPa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1317-1320
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Electron-phonon coupling
  • Hydrogen-rich compounds
  • Metallization


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