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Facile Synthesis of Ba1–xKxFe2As2 Superconductors via Hydride Route

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posted on 03.12.2014, 00:00 by Julia V. Zaikina, Maria Batuk, Artem M. Abakumov, Alexandra Navrotsky, Susan M. Kauzlarich
We have developed a fast, easy, and scalable synthesis method for Ba1–xKxFe2As2 (0 ≤ x ≤ 1) superconductors using hydrides BaH2 and KH as a source of barium and potassium metals. Synthesis from hydrides provides better mixing and easier handling of the starting materials, consequently leading to faster reactions and/or lower synthesis temperatures. The reducing atmosphere provided by the evolved hydrogen facilitates preparation of oxygen-free powders. By a combination of methods we have shown that Ba1–xKxFe2As2 obtained via hydride route has the same characteristics as when it is prepared by traditional solid-state synthesis. Refinement from synchrotron powder X-ray diffraction data confirms a linear dependence of unit cell parameters upon K content as well as the tetragonal to orthorhombic transition at low temperatures for compositions with x < 0.2. Magnetic measurements revealed dome-like dependence of superconducting transition temperature Tc upon K content with a maximum of 38 K for x close to 0.4. Electron diffraction and high-resolution high-angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy indicates an absence of Ba/K ordering, while local inhomogeneity in the Ba/K distribution takes place at a scale of several angstroms along [110] crystallographic direction.