Single-crystal structure determination of (Mg,Fe)SiO3 postperovskite.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2013-04-12)
Li Zhang, Yue Meng, Przemyslaw Dera, Wenge Yang, Wendy L Mao, Ho-Kwang Mao

Knowledge of the structural properties of mantle phases is critical for understanding the enigmatic seismic features observed in the Earth's lower mantle down to the core-mantle boundary. However, our knowledge of lower mantle phase equilibria at high pressure (P) and temperature (T) conditions has been based on limited information provided by powder X-ray diffraction technique and theoretical calculations. Here, we report the in situ single-crystal structure determination of (Mg,Fe)SiO3 postperovskite (ppv) at high P and after temperature quenching in a diamond anvil cell. Using a newly developed multigrain single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis technique in a diamond anvil cell, crystallographic orientations of over 100 crystallites were simultaneously determined at high P in a coarse-grained polycrystalline sample containing submicron ppv grains. Conventional single-crystal structural analysis and refinement methods were applied for a few selected ppv crystallites, which demonstrate the feasibility of the in situ study of crystal structures of submicron crystallites in a multiphase polycrystalline sample contained within a high P device. The similarity of structural models for single-crystal Fe-bearing ppv (~10 mol% Fe) and Fe-free ppv from previous theoretical calculations suggests that the Fe content in the mantle has a negligible effect on the crystal structure of the ppv phase.

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