Thorium and Rare Earth Monoxides and Related Phases

Sergey V. Ushakov, Qi Jun Hong, Dustin A. Gilbert, Alexandra Navrotsky, Axel van de Walle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Thorium was a part of energy infrastructure in the 19th century due to the refractory and electronic properties of its dioxide. It will be a part of future energy infrastructure as the most abundant energy reserve based on nuclear fission. This paper discusses the solid-state chemistry of the monoxides and related rocksalt phases of thorium and the rare earths, both at atmospheric and at high pressure. The existence of solid thorium monoxide was first suggested more than 100 years ago; however, it was never obtained in bulk and has been studied mostly theoretically. Monoxides of lanthanides from Eu to Ho are ferromagnetic semiconductors sought for spintronics and were studied in thin films. La to Sm metallic monoxides were synthesized in bulk at pressures below 5 GPa. Recently, ThO formation in thin films has been reported and the stability of bulk ThO at high pressure was theoretically predicted based on first principles computations at 0 K. New ab initio computations were performed accounting for temperature effects up to 1000 K using lattice dynamics in the quasi-harmonic approximation. New computational results confirm the stabilization of pure ThO above 30 GPa and suggest the possibility of high-pressure synthesis of (Th,Nd)O at 1000 K and 5 GPa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1350
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • rare earth monoxides
  • rare earths
  • thorium
  • thorium monoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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