Superconducting SrSnP with Strong Sn-P Antibonding Interaction: Is the Sn Atom Single or Mixed Valent?

Xin Gui, Zuzanna Sobczak, Tay Rong Chang, Xitong Xu, Angus Huang, Shuang Jia, Horng Tay Jeng, Tomasz Klimczuk, Weiwei Xie

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The large single crystals of SrSnP were prepared using Sn self-flux method. The superconductivity in the tetragonal SrSnP is observed with the critical temperature of ∼2.3 K. The results of a crystallographic analysis, superconducting characterization, and theoretical assessment of tetragonal SrSnP are presented. The SrSnP crystallizes in the CaGaN structure type with space group P4/nmm (S.G. 129, Pearson symbol tP6) according to the single-crystal X-ray diffraction characterization. A combination of magnetic susceptibility, resistivity, and heat capacity measurements confirms the bulk superconductivity with Tc = 2.3(1) K in SrSnP. According to the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurement, the assignments of Sr2+ and P3- are consistent with the chemical valence electron balance principles. Moreover, it is highly likely that Sn atom has only one unusual oxidation state. First-principles calculations indicate the bands around Fermi level are hybridized among Sr d, Sn p, and P p orbitals. The strong Sn-P and Sr-P interactions pose as keys to stabilize the crystallographic structure and induce the superconductivity, respectively. The physics-based electronic and phononic calculations are consistent with the molecular viewpoint. After inclusion of the spin-orbit coupling into the calculation, the band degeneracies at Γ-point in the first Brillouin zone split into two bands, which yield to the van Hove singularities around Fermi level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6005-6013
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry

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