Superconducting praseodymium superhydrides

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Science Advances  28 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 9, eaax6849
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax6849


Superhydrides have complex hydrogenic sublattices and are important prototypes for studying metallic hydrogen and high-temperature superconductors. Previous results for LaH10 suggest that the Pr-H system may be especially worth studying because of the magnetism and valence-band f-electrons in the element Pr. Here, we successfully synthesized praseodymium superhydrides (PrH9) in laser-heated diamond anvil cells. Synchrotron x-ray diffraction analysis demonstrated the presence of previously predicted F4¯3m-PrH9 and unexpected P63/mmc-PrH9 phases. Experimental studies of electrical resistance in the PrH9 sample showed the emergence of a possible superconducting transition (Tc) below 9 K and Tc dependent on the applied magnetic field. Theoretical calculations indicate that magnetic order and likely superconductivity coexist in a narrow range of pressures in the PrH9 sample, which may contribute to its low superconducting temperature. Our results highlight the intimate connections between hydrogenic sublattices, density of states, magnetism, and superconductivity in Pr-based superhydrides.

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