Intrinsic Isotropic Near-Zero Thermal Expansion in Zn4B6O12X (X = O, S, Se)

Youquan Liu, Dajiang Mei, Naizheng Wang, Maxim S. Molokeev, Xingxing Jiang*, and Zheshuai Lin* ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES.

Zero thermal expansion (ZTE) materials, keeping size constant as temperature varies, are valuable for resisting the deterioration of the performance from environmental temperature fluctuation, but they are rarely discovered due to the counterintuitive temperature–size effect. Herein, we demonstrate that a family of borates with sodalite cage structure, Zn4B6O12X (X = O, S, Se), exhibits intrinsic isotropic near-ZTE behaviors from 5 to 300 K. The very low thermal expansion is mainly owing to the coupling rotation of [BO4] rigid groups constrained by the bonds between Zn and cage-edged O atoms, while the central atoms in the cage have a negligible contribution. Our study has significant implications on the understanding of the ZTE mechanism and exploration of new ZTE materials.