Issue 29, 2023

Silvanite AuAgTe4: a rare case of gold superconducting material


Gold is one of the most inert metals, forming very few compounds, some with rather interesting properties, and only a few of them are currently known to be superconducting under certain conditions. Compounds of another noble element, Ag, are also relatively rare, and very few of them are superconducting. Finding new superconducting materials containing gold (and silver) is a challenge – especially having in mind that the best high-Tc superconductors under normal conditions are based upon their rather close congener, Cu. Here we report combined X-ray diffraction, Raman, and resistivity measurements, as well as first-principles calculations, to explore the effect of hydrostatic pressure on the properties of the sylvanite mineral, AuAgTe4. Our experimental results, supported by density functional theory, reveal a structural phase transition at ∼5 GPa from a monoclinic P2/c to P2/m phase, resulting in almost identical coordinations of Au and Ag ions, with rather uniform interatomic distances. Furthermore, resistivity measurements show the onset of superconductivity at ∼1.5 GPa in the P2/c phase, followed by a linear increase of Tc up to the phase transition, with a maximum in the P2/m phase, and a gradual decrease afterwards. Our calculations indicate phonon-mediated superconductivity, with the electron–phonon coupling coming predominantly from the low-energy phonon modes. Thus, along with the discovery of a new superconducting compound of gold/silver, our results advance the understanding of the mechanism behind superconductivity in Au-containing compounds and dichalcogenides of other transition metals.

Graphical abstract: Silvanite AuAgTe4: a rare case of gold superconducting material

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Article information

Article type
04 Mar 2023
14 Jun 2023
First published
07 Jul 2023
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

J. Mater. Chem. C, 2023,11, 10016-10024

Silvanite AuAgTe4: a rare case of gold superconducting material

Y. Amiel, G. P. Kafle, E. V. Komleva, E. Greenberg, Y. S. Ponosov, S. Chariton, B. Lavina, D. Zhang, A. Palevski, A. V. Ushakov, H. Mori, D. I. Khomskii, I. I. Mazin, S. V. Streltsov, E. R. Margine and G. Kh. Rozenberg, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2023, 11, 10016 DOI: 10.1039/D3TC00787A

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