Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 7, 2020

Phase transitions in Ɛ-FeOOH at high pressure and ambient temperature

Elizabeth C. Thompson ORCID logo, Anne H. Davis, Nigel M. Brauser, Zhenxian Liu, Vitali B. Prakapenka and Andrew J. Campbell
From the journal American Mineralogist


Constraining the accommodation, distribution, and circulation of hydrogen in the Earth’s interior is vital to our broader understanding of the deep Earth due to the significant influence of hydrogen on the material and rheological properties of minerals. Recently, a great deal of attention has been paid to the high-pressure polymorphs of FeOOH (space groups P21nm and Pnnm). These structures potentially form a hydrogen-bearing solid solution with AlOOH and phase H (MgSiO4H2) that may transport water (OH) deep into the Earth’s lower mantle. Additionally, the pyrite-type polymorph (space group Pa3 of FeOOH), and its potential dehydration have been linked to phenomena as diverse as the introduction of hydrogen into the outer core (Nishi et al. 2017), the formation of ultralow-velocity zones (ULVZs) (Liu et al. 2017), and the Great Oxidation Event (Hu et al. 2016). In this study, the high-pressure evolution of FeOOH was re-evaluated up to ~75 GPa using a combination of synchrotron-based X‑ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and optical absorption spectroscopy. Based on these measurements, we report three principal findings: (1) pressure-induced changes in hydrogen bonding (proton disordering or hydrogen bond symmetrization) occur at substantially lower pressures in Ɛ-FeOOH than previously reported and are unlikely to be linked to the high-spin to low-spin transition; (2) Ɛ-FeOOH undergoes a 10% volume collapse coincident with an isostructural PnnmPnnm transition at approximately 45 GPa; and (3) a pressure-induced band gap reduction is observed in FeOOH at pressures consistent with the previously reported spin transition (40 to 50 GPa).

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Acknowledgments and Funding

The authors declare no real or perceived financial conflicts of interest related to this work. Supporting information can be found in the Supplemental Materials[1]. The authors thank M.M. Reagan for providing sample material, which was originally synthesized by A. Suzuki. This work was supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) EAR Postdoctoral Fellowship under grant EAR-1725673 for E.C.T. and NSF grant EAR-1651017 for A.J.C. The FTIR facilities at the National Synchrotron Light Source is supported by Consortium for Materials Properties Research in Earth Sciences (COMPRES) under NSF Cooperative Agreement EAR-1143050 and by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under contract DE-AC02-98CH10886. Use of the COMPRES-GSECARS gas loading system was supported by COMPRES under NSF Cooperative Agreement EAR-1606856 and by GSECARS through NSF grant EAR-1634415 and DOE grant DE-FG02-94ER14466. This research used resources of the Advanced Photon Source, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility operated for the DOE Office of Science by Argonne National Laboratory under contract DE-AC02-06CH11357. We also thank three anonymous reviewers whose comments helped improve this manuscript.

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Received: 2020-02-09
Accepted: 2020-06-10
Published Online: 2020-12-07
Published in Print: 2020-12-16

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