Integration of negative, zero and positive linear thermal expansion makes borate optical crystals light transmission temperature-independent

Jiang, X., Wang, N., Dong, L., (...), Li, L., Lin, Z.// Materials Horizons//


Negative and zero thermal expansion (NTE and ZTE) materials are widely adopted to eliminate the harmful effect from the “heat expansion and cool contraction” effect and frequently embrace novel fundamental physicochemical mechanisms. To date, the manipulation of NTE and ZTE materials has mainly been realized by chemical component regulation. Here, we propose another method by making use of the anisotropy of thermal expansion in noncubic single crystals, with maximal tunability from the integration of linear NTE, ZTE and positive thermal expansion (PTE). We demonstrate this concept in borate optical crystals of AEB2O4 (AE = Ca or Sr) to make the light transmission temperature-independent by counterbalancing the thermal expansion and thermo-optics coefficient. We further reveal that such a unique thermal expansion behavior in AEB2O4 arises from the synergetic thermal excitation of bond stretching in ionic [AEO8] and rotation between covalent [BO3] groups. This work has significant implications for understanding the thermal excitation of lattice vibrations in crystals and promoting the functionalization of anomalous thermal expansion materials.