Giant negative linear compressibility in zinc dicyanoaurate
A B Cairns, J Catafesta, C Levelut, J Rouquette, A van der Lee, L Peters, A L Thompson, V Dmitriev, J Haines and A L Goodwin
Nature Materials 12, 212-216 (2013)
The final authors’ version of this article is available open access via. the Oxford Research Archive.
The counterintuitive phenomenon of negative linear compressibility (NLC) is a highly desirable but rare property exploitable in the development of artificial muscles, actuators and next-generation pressure sensors. In all cases, material performance is directly related to the magnitude of intrinsic NLC response. Here we show the molecular framework material zinc(II) dicyanoaurate(I), Zn[Au(CN)2]2, exhibits the most extreme and persistent NLC behaviour yet reported: under increasing hydrostatic pressure its crystal structure expands in one direction at a rate that is an order of magnitude greater than both the typical contraction observed for common engineering materials and also the anomalous expansion in established NLC candidates. This extreme behaviour arises from the honeycomb-like structure of Zn[Au(CN)2]2 coupling volume reduction to uniaxial expansion, and helical Au…Au ‘aurophilic’ interactions accommodating abnormally large linear strains by functioning as supramolecular springs.