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On the Crystal Chemistry of Inorganic Nitrides: Crystal-Chemical Parameters, Bonding Behavior, and Opportunities in the Exploration of Their Compositional Space
preprintrevised on 30.10.2020, 16:05 and posted on 02.11.2020, 06:00 by Olivier Charles Gagné
The scarcity of nitrogen in Earth’s crust, combined with challenging synthesis, have made inorganic nitrides a relatively unexplored class of compounds compared to their naturally-abundant oxide counterparts. To facilitate exploration of their compositional space via a priori modeling, and to help a posteriori structure verification not limited to inferring the oxidation state of redox-active cations, we derive a suite of bond-valence parameters and Lewis-acid strength values for 76 cations observed bonding to N3-, and further outline a baseline statistical knowledge of bond lengths for these compounds. Examination of structural and electronic effects responsible for the functional properties and anomalous bonding behavior of inorganic nitrides shows that many mechanisms of bond-length variation ubiquitous to oxide and oxysalt compounds (e.g., lone-pair stereoactivity, the Jahn-Teller and pseudo Jahn-Teller effects) are similarly pervasive in inorganic nitrides, and are occasionally observed to result in greater distortion magnitude than their oxide counterparts. We identify promising functional units for exploring uncharted chemical spaces of inorganic nitrides, e.g. multiple-bond metal centers with promise regarding the development of a post-Haber-Bosch process proceeding at milder reaction conditions, and promote an atomistic understanding of chemical bonding in nitrides relevant to such pursuits as the development of a model of ion substitution in solids, a problem of great relevance to semiconductor doping whose resolve would fast-track the development of compound solar cells, battery materials, electronics, and more.