Phase stability and pressure dependence of defect formation in Gd2Ti2O7 and Gd2Zr2O7 pyrochlores

Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Feb 1;100(4):045503. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.045503. Epub 2008 Jan 28.


We report dramatically different behaviors between isostructural Gd2Ti2O7 and Gd2Zr2O7 pyrochlore at pressures up to 44 GPa, in which the substitution of Ti for Zr significantly increases structural stability. Upon release of pressure, the Gd2Ti2O7 becomes amorphous. In contrast, the high-pressure phase of Gd2Zr2O7 transforms to a disordered defect-fluorite structure. First-principle calculations for both compositions revealed that the response of pyrochlore to high pressure is controlled by the intrinsic energetics of defect formation.