Revisiting the Crystal Structure of Rhombohedral Lead Metaniobate
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInorganic Chemistry 2014, 53(18):9715-9721 10.1021/ic5012378
Lead metaniobate (PbNb2O6) can exist both as a stable rhombohedral and a metastable orthorhombic tungsten-bronze-type polymorph. While the orthorhombic is a well-known ferroelectric material, the rhombohedral polymorph has been far less studied. The crystal structure and energetic stability of the stable rhombohedral polymorph of lead metaniobate is re-examined by powder X-ray diffraction and powder neutron diffraction in combination with ab-initio calculations. We show that this structure is described by the polar space group R3, in contradiction to the previously reported space group R3m. The crystal structure is unusual, consisting of edge-sharing dimers of NbO6/2 octahedra forming layers with six- and threefold rings of octahedra, and lead ions in channels formed by these rings. The layers are connected by corner-sharing between octahedra. Finally, the crystal structure is discussed in relation to other AB2O6 compounds with B = Nb, Ta.