We identify by ab initio calculations an orthorhombic carbon polymorph in Pnma symmetry that has the lowest enthalpy among proposed cold-compressed graphite phases. This new phase contains alternating zigzag and armchair buckled carbon sheets transformed via a one-layer by three-layer slip mechanism. It has a wide indirect band gap and a large bulk modulus that are comparable to those of diamond. Its simulated x-ray diffraction pattern best matches the experimental data. Pressure plays a key role in lowering the kinetic barrier during the phase conversion process. These results provide a comprehensive understanding and an excellent account for experimental findings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)