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Anomalous compression behavior in lanthanum/cerium-based metallic glass under high pressure

Zeng, Q.S., Li, Y.C., Feng, C.M., Liermann, P., Somayazulu, M., Shen, G.Y., Mao, H.-k., Yang, R., Liu, J., Hu, T.D., Jiang, J.Z.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2007 v.104 no.34 pp. 13565-13568
X-ray diffraction, alloys, cerium, compressibility, electrons, glass, magnetic fields, phase transition, temperature
In situ high-pressure x-ray diffraction, low-temperature resistivity, and magnetization experiments were performed on a La₃₂Ce₃₂Al₁₆Ni₅Cu₁₅ bulk metallic glass (BMG). A sudden change in compressibility at [almost equal to]14 GPa and a rapid increase of resistivity at [almost equal to]12 K were detected, whereas magnetic phase transformation and magnetic field dependence of the low-temperature resistivity do not occur at temperatures down to 4.2 K. An interaction between conduction electrons and the two-level systems is suggested to explain the temperature and field dependences of resistivity of the BMG alloy. Although the cause of the unusual change in compressibility at [almost equal to]14 GPa is not clear, we believe that it could be linked with the unique electron structure of cerium in the amorphous matrix. An electronic phase transition in BMG alloys, most likely a second-order amorphous-to-amorphous phase transition, is suggested.