Dramatic volume collapses under pressure are fundamental to geochemistry and of increasing importance to fields as diverse as hydrogen storage and high-temperature superconductivity. In transition metal materials, collapses are usually driven by so-called spinstate transitions, the interplay between the single-ion crystal field and the size of the magnetic moment. Here we show that the classical S=52 mineral hauerite (MnS2) undergoes an unprecedented (ΔV∼22 %) collapse driven by a conceptually different magnetic mechanism. Using synchrotron X-ray diffraction we show that cold compression induces the formation of a disordered intermediate. However, using an evolutionary algorithm we predict a new structure with edge-sharing chains. This is confirmed as the thermodynamic ground state using in situ laser heating. We show that magnetism is globally absent in the new phase, as low-spin quantum S=12 moments are quenched by dimerization. Our results show how the emergence of metal-metal bonding can stabilize giant spin-lattice coupling in Earth's minerals.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
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