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Pressure-Induced Phase Transition in Barium Hydride Studied with Neutron Scattering...

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Applied Physics Letters
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Barium hydride can undergo a structural phase transition from an orthorhombic phase to a hexagonal phase induced by high temperature or high pressure. This transition causes an immediate increase in the hydrogen diffusion rates by over an order of magnitude, and therefore, understanding the origin and details of such transition is of great interest not only for fundamental reasons but also for improving materials for future applications. In this work, the pressure evolution of the crystal structure was characterized using neutron powder diffraction up to a maximum pressure of 11.3 GPa. The pressure dependence of the unit cell volumes, lattice parameters, atomic sites, and compressibilities were determined for both phases. A structural phase transition occurred over a wide pressure range of P = 1.3 GPa–4.9 GPa. The transition to the higher density hexagonal phase reduced the volume per formula unit of BaD2 by 13.6%, hence increasing the volumetric storage density. In addition, we investigated the hydrogen diffusion process using high pressure quasi-elastic neutron scattering up to 7.1 GPa. Our results show that the hydrogen mobility increases with pressure in the hexagonal phase. This work sheds light on the structural and dynamical aspects of barium hydride caused by the application of high pressure. The results may aid in the development of advanced metal hydride systems with increased hydrogen dynamics.