Resonant ultrasonic spectroscopy and resonant piezoelectric spectroscopy in ferroelastic lead phosphate, Pb3(PO4)2

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Aktas, O. ; Salje, E. K. H. ; Carpenter, M. A.

Elastic properties of the ferroelastic compound Pb3(PO4)2 were investigated using resonant ultrasonic spectroscopy. Results show softening of the mechanical resonance frequencies at the $R\overline{3}m\rightarrow C 2/c$ ferroelastic transition temperature Ttrans = 453.6 K with no noticeable frequency dispersion. The reduction of resonance frequencies corresponds to 25% softening of the effective elastic constants at Ttrans relative to the value at 700 K. The data analysis indicates that the elastic precursor softening is driven by a displacive soft mode that is coupled to the order–disorder movements of Pb atoms around the rhombohedral threefold axis, which gives rise to local monoclinicity in the paraelastic phase. Finally, resonant piezoelectric spectroscopy (RPS) is used to determine if microstructures are polar in the cubic phase. RPS measurements find no evidence of piezoelectric signals in Pb3(PO4)2, confirming that the possible polar behavior detected using second harmonic generation is due to crystal imperfections.\ud
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