Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Design of crystal-like aperiodic solids with selective disorder–phonon coupling

Overy, Alistair R.; Cairns, Andrew B.; Cliffe, Matthew J.; Simonov, Arkadiy; Tucker, Matthew G.; Goodwin, Andrew L.


Alistair R. Overy

Andrew B. Cairns

Arkadiy Simonov

Matthew G. Tucker

Andrew L. Goodwin


Functional materials design normally focuses on structurally ordered systems because disorder is considered detrimental to many functional properties. Here we challenge this paradigm by showing that particular types of strongly correlated disorder can give rise to useful characteristics that are inaccessible to ordered states. A judicious combination of low-symmetry building unit and high-symmetry topological template leads to aperiodic ‘procrystalline’ solids that harbour this type of disorder. We identify key classes of procrystalline states together with their characteristic diffraction behaviour, and establish mappings onto known and target materials. The strongly correlated disorder found in these systems is associated with specific sets of modulation periodicities distributed throughout the Brillouin zone. Lattice dynamical calculations reveal selective disorder-driven phonon broadening that resembles the poorly understood ‘waterfall’ effect observed in relaxor ferroelectrics. This property of procrystalline solids suggests a mechanism by which strongly correlated topological disorder might allow independently optimized thermal and electronic transport behaviour, such as required for high-performance thermoelectrics.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 4, 2016
Journal Nature Communications
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Article Number 10445
APA6 Citation Overy, A. R., Cairns, A. B., Cliffe, M. J., Simonov, A., Tucker, M. G., & Goodwin, A. L. (2016). Design of crystal-like aperiodic solids with selective disorder–phonon coupling. Nature Communications, 7, doi:10.1038/ncomms10445
Keywords General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; General Physics and Astronomy; General Chemistry
Publisher URL


Design of crystal-like aperiodic solids with selective disorder–phonon coupling (3.2 Mb)

You might also like

Downloadable Citations