Investigation of CaIr1-xPtxO3 and CaIr0.5Rh0.5O3 : structural properties, physical properties and stabilising conditions for post-perovskite oxides
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Our understanding of the nature of Earth’s D” region was changed significantly by a recent finding by Murakami et al. (2004), who revealed a phase transition from perovskite to post-perovskite structure in MgSiO3 at about 125 GPa and 2500 K, corresponding to conditions of the lowermost mantle. A perovskite to post-perovskite phase transition accounts for many unusual features of the D” region, including its notable seismic anisotropy, and also accounts for the unusual topology of the D” discontinuity. However, the experimentally synthesised post-perovskite phase of MgSiO3 is not quenchable to ambient conditions, which means that many of its physical properties remain difficult to determine. On the other hand, there are several post-perovskite oxides, CaIrO3, CaPtO3, CaRhO3 and CaRuO3, which can be quenched to ambient conditions, maintaining their structure. High pressure synthesis of CaIr1-xPtxO3 solid solutions (x = 0, 0.3, 0.5, 0.7) and CaIr0.5Rh0.5O3 was conducted at the University of Edinburgh and Geodynamics Research Center, Ehime University, and structures and physical properties of these novel post-perovskite materials determined. Substantial  grain growth was observed in all solid solutions leading to pronounced texture even in powdered materials. Temperature-independent paramagnetism above 150 K and small magnetic entropy observed in heat capacity measurements suggest that CaIrO3 is an intrinsically weak itinerant ferromagnetic metal, while electrical resistivity measurements show that it is a narrow bandgap semiconductor, possibly due to grain boundary effects. CaIrO3 undergoes a magnetic transition at 108K and possesses a saturated magnetic moment of 0.04 μB. Doping with Pt or Rh induces Curie-Weiss paramagnetism and suppresses the magnetic transition. The anisotropic structure and morphology of CaIrO3 combined with the Ir4+ spin-orbit coupling results in a large magnetic anisotropy constant of 1.77 x 106 Jm-3, comparable to values for permanent magnet materials. A new high-pressure phase of CaIr0.5Pt0.5O3 was synthesised at 60GPa, 1900K using a laser-heated DAC (diamond anvil cell) at GRC, Ehime University. Its Raman spectra resemble those of perovskite phases of CaIrO3 and CaMnO3, implying that CaIr0.5Pt0.5O3 undergoes a post-perovskite to perovskite phase transition with increasing pressure. I estimate an increase in thermodynamic Grüneisen parameter γth across the post-perovskite to perovskite transition of 34 %, with similar magnitude to (Mg,Fe)SiO3 and MgGeO3, suggesting that CaIr0.5Pt0.5O3 is a promising analogue for experimentally simulating the competitive stability between perovskite and post-perovskite phase of magnesium silicates in Earth’s lowermost mantle. Such estimation is reliable since the estimated and directly calculated thermodynamic Grüneisen parameter γth from heat capacity show consistent values. The marked effect that Pt has on stabilising the post-perovskite structure in CaIr1-xPtxO3 solid solutions explains why the post-perovskite to perovskite phase transition has not been observed for CaPtO3 in contrast to other quenchable post-perovskite oxides: CaIrO3, CaRhO3 and CaRuO3.Work presented here demonstrates that CaIrO3 solid solutions can be used to provide new insight into factors stabilising post-perovskite structures in Earth’s lowermost mantle.