Nonstoichiometry and superstructures
Institute of Solid State Chemistry, Urals Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Pervomayskaya 91, Ekaterinburg, 620219, Russian Federation
The way in which nonstoichiometry and order and disorder interrelate in solid phase compounds is discussed. Nonstoichiometry due to the presence of structural vacancies is widely found in such solid phase compounds as transition metal carbides, nitrides and oxides, and in related ternary interstitial compounds. It is shown that it is nonstoichiometry that determines the disordered or ordered distribution of atoms and vacancies. A review is given of the current status of research into disorder—order phase transitions in strongly nonstoichiometric cubic and hexagonal compounds. Symmetry analysis results for disorder—order and order—order phase transformations are considered in detail. Key superstructure types that form in nonstoichiometic compounds with vacancies in one or two sublattices are described.