Uranium polyhydrides at moderate pressures: Prediction, synthesis, and expected superconductivity

Ivan A. Kruglov, Alexander G. Kvashnin, Alexander F. Goncharov, Artem R. Oganov, Sergey S. Lobanov, Nicholas Holtgrewe, Shuqing Jiang, Vitali B. Prakapenka, Eran Greenberg, Alexey V. Yanilkin

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61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hydrogen-rich hydrides attract great attention due to recent theoretical (1) and then experimental discovery of record high-temperature superconductivity in H3S [Tc = 203 K at 155 GPa (2)]. Here we search for stable uranium hydrides at pressures up to 500 GPa using ab initio evolutionary crystal structure prediction. Chemistry of the U-H system turned out to be extremely rich, with 14 new compounds, including hydrogen-rich UH5, UH6, U2H13, UH7, UH8, U2H17, and UH9. Their crystal structures are based on either common face-centered cubic or hexagonal close-packed uranium sublattice and unusual H8 cubic clusters. Our high-pressure experiments at 1 to 103 GPa confirm the predicted UH7, UH8, and three different phases of UH5, raising confidence about predictions of the other phases. Many of the newly predicted phases are expected to be high-temperature superconductors. The highest-Tc superconductor is UH7, predicted to be thermodynamically stable at pressures above 22 GPa (with Tc = 44 to 54 K), and this phase remains dynamically stable upon decompression to zero pressure (where it has Tc = 57 to 66 K).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaat9776
JournalScience Advances
Volume4
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2018

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