Transport at Nanoscale Interfaces Laboratory

Thermal Polymorphism in CsCB11H12

Černý, R., Brighi, M., Wu, H., Zhou, W., Dimitrievska, M., Murgia, F., Gulino V., de Jongh PE., Trump BA. & Udovic, T. J. 

Molecules, 28(5), 2296 (12 pp.).(2023).

Thermal polymorphism in the alkali-metal salts incorporating the icosohedral monocarba-hydridoborate anion, CB11H12−, results in intriguing dynamical properties leading to superionic conductivity for the lightest alkali-metal analogues, LiCB11H12 and NaCB11H12. As such, these two have been the focus of most recent CB11H12− related studies, with less attention paid to the heavier alkali-metal salts, such as CsCB11H12. Nonetheless, it is of fundamental importance to compare the nature of the structural arrangements and interactions across the entire alkali-metal series. Thermal polymorphism in CsCB11H12 was investigated using a combination of techniques: X-ray powder diffraction; differential scanning calorimetry; Raman, infrared, and neutron spectroscopies; and ab initio calculations. The unexpected temperature-dependent structural behavior of anhydrous CsCB11H12 can be potentially justified assuming the existence of two polymorphs with similar free energies at room temperature: (i) a previously reported, ordered R3 polymorph stabilized upon drying and transforming first to R3c symmetry near 313 K and then to a similarly packed but disordered I43d polymorph near 353 K and (ii) a disordered Fm3 polymorph that initially appears from the disordered I43d polymorph near 513 K along with another disordered high-temperature P63mc polymorph. Quasielastic neutron scattering results indicate that the CB11H12− anions in the disordered phase at 560 K are undergoing isotropic rotational diffusion, with a jump correlation frequency [1.19(9) × 1011 s−1] in line with those for the lighter-metal analogues.