Prediction of novel stable compounds in the Mg-Si-O system under exoplanet pressures

Haiyang Niu, Artem R. Oganov, Xing Qiu Chen, Dianzhong Li

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The Mg-Si-O system is the major Earth and rocky planet-forming system. Here, through quantum variable-composition evolutionary structure explorations, we have discovered several unexpected stable binary and ternary compounds in the Mg-Si-O system. Besides the well-known SiO2 phases, we have found two extraordinary silicon oxides, SiO3 and SiO, which become stable at pressures above 0.51 TPa and 1.89 TPa, respectively. In the Mg-O system, we have found one new compound, MgO3, which becomes stable at 0.89 TPa. We find that not only the (MgO)x ·(SiO2) y compounds, but also two (MgO3)x ·(SiO3) y compounds, MgSi3O12 and MgSiO6, have stability fields above 2.41 TPa and 2.95 TPa, respectively. The highly oxidized MgSi3O12 can form in deep mantles of mega-Earths with masses above 20 M • (M •:Earth's mass). Furthermore, the dissociation pathways of pPv-MgSiO3 are also clarified, and found to be different at low and high temperatures. The low-temperature pathway is MgSiO3 → Mg2SiO4 + MgSi2O5 → SiO2 + Mg2SiO4 → MgO + SiO2, while the high-temperature pathway is MgSiO3 → Mg2SiO4 + MgSi2O5 → MgO + MgSi2O5 → MgO + SiO2. Present results are relevant for models of the internal structure of giant exoplanets, and for understanding the high-pressure behavior of materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18347
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2015


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