Effect of structure and thermodynamic stability on the response of lanthanide stannate pyrochlores to ion beam irradiation

J. Lian, K. B. Helean, B. J. Kennedy, L. M. Wang, A. Navrotsky, R. C. Ewing

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181 Scopus citations


The lanthanide stannates, Ln2Sn2O7, Ln = La-Lu and Y, have the isometric pyrochlore structure, A2B 2O7, and their structural properties have been refined by Rietveld analysis of powder neutron and synchrotron X-ray diffraction data. In this study, the enthalpies of formation of selected stannate pyrochlores, Ln = La, Nd, Sm, Eu, Dy, and Yb, were measured by high-temperature oxide melt solution calorimetry. Their radiation response was determined by 1 MeV Kr 2+ ion irradiation combined with in situ TEM observation over the temperature range of 25 to 1000 K. The enthalpy of formation from binary oxides of stannate pyrochlores became more endothermic (from -145 to -40 kJ/mol) as the size of the lanthanide in the A-site decreases. A more exothermic trend of the enthalpy of formation was observed in stannate pyrochlores with larger lanthanide ions, particularly La, possibly as a result of increased covalency in the 〈Sn-O〉 bond. In contrast to lanthanide titanate pyrochlores, Ln2Ti2O7, that are generally susceptible to radiation-induced amorphization and zirconate pyrochlores, Ln2Zr 2O7, that are generally resistant to radiation-induced amorphization, the lanthanide stannate pyrochlores show a much greater variation in their response to ion irradiation. La, Nd, and Gd stannates experience the radiation-induced transformation to the aperiodic state, and the critical amorphization temperatures are ∼960, 700, and 350 K, respectively. Y and Er stannate pyrochlores cannot be amorphized by ion beam irradiation, even at 25 K, and instead disorder to a defect fluorite structure. Comparison of the calorimetric and ion irradiation data for titanate, zirconate, and stannate pyrochlores reveals a strong correlation among subtle changes in crystal structure with changing composition, the energetics of the disordering process, and the temperature above which the material can no longer be amorphized. In summary, as the structure approaches the ideal, ordered pyrochlore structure, radiation-induced amorphization is more easily attained. This is consistent with an increasingly exothermic trend in the enthalpies of formation of pyrochlores from the oxides, that is, the greater the thermochemical stability of the pyrochlore structure, the more likely it will be amorphized upon radiation damage rather than recover to a disordered fluorite structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2343-2350
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 9 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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