Phase coexistence in proton glass

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Proton glasses are crystals of composition M1−x(NW4)xW2A04, where M = K,Rb,Cs, W = H,D, A = P, As. For x = 0 there is a ferroelectric (FE) transition, while for x-1 there is an antiferroelectric (AFE) transition. In both cases, the transition is from a paraelectric (PE) state of tetragonal structure with dynamically disordered hydrogen bonds to an ordered state of orthorhombic structure. For an intermediate x range there is no transition, but the hydrogen rearrangements slow down, and eventually display nonergodic behavior characteristic of glasses. We and others have shown from spontaneous polarization, dielectric permittivity, nuclear magnetic resonance, and neutron diffraction experiments that for smaller x there is coexistence of ferroelectric and paraelectric phases, and for larger × there is coexistence of antiferroelectric and paraelectric phases. We present a method for analytically describing this coexistence, and the degree to which this coexistence is spatial and/or temporal. We discuss also the experimental determination of these coexistence parameters.




V.H. Schmidt, Z. Trybula, N.J. Pinto, and S.M. Shapiro, “Phase coexistence in proton glass,” Phase Transitions 67, 499-520 (1998).
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