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The mechanism behind SnO metallization under high pressure...

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Results in Physics
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SnO is known to undergo metallization at ∼ 5 GPa while retaining its tetragonal symmetry. However, the mechanism of this metallization remains speculative. We present a combined experimental and computational study including pressure-dependent infrared spectroscopy, resistivity, and neutron powder diffraction measurements. We show that, while the excess charge mobility increases with pressure, the lattice distortion, in terms of the z-position of Sn, is reduced. Both processes follow a similar trend that consists of two stages, a moderate increment up to ∼ 3 GPa followed by a rapid increase at higher pressure. This behavior is discussed in terms of polaron delocalization. The pressure-induced delocalization is dictated by the electron–phonon coupling and related local anisotropic lattice distortion at the polaron site. We show that these polaronic states are stable at 0 GPa with a binding energy of ∼ 0.35 eV. Upon increasing the pressure, the polaron binding energy is reduced with the electron–phonon coupling strength of Γ and M modes, enabling the electrical phase transition to occur at ∼ 3.8 GPa. Further compression increases the total electron–phonon coupling strength up to a maximum at 10 GPa, which is a strong evidence of dome-shaped superconductivity transition with Tc = 1.67 K.