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Lattice dynamics and Raman spectroscopy of protoenstatite Mg2Si2O6


Enstatites (Mg2Si2O6) are important rock forming silicates of the pyroxene group whose structures are characterised by double MgO6 octahedral bands and single silicate chains. Orthoenstatite transforms to protoenstatite above 1273 K with a doubling of the a axis and a rearrangement of the silicate chains with respect to the Mg2+ ions. Lattice dynamical calculations based on a rigid-ion model in the quasi-harmonic approximation provide theoretical estimates of elastic constants, long wavelength phonon modes, phonon dispersion relations, total and partial density of states and inelastic neutron scattering cross-sections of protoenstatite. The computed elastic constants are in good agreement with experimental data. The computed density of states of a chain silicate such as protoenstatite is distinct from that of olivines (forsterite, Mg2SiO4 and fayalite, Fe2-SiO4) with isolated silicate tetrahedra. The band gaps in the density of states in forsterite are largely due to the separation in the frequency ranges of the external and internal vibrations of the isolated silicate group, whereas in protoenstatite these gaps are filled by the vibrations of the bridging oxygens of the silicate chain. The computed density of states is used to calculate the specific heat, the mean square atomic displacements and temperature factors. Validity of these calculations are supported by Raman scattering measurements. Polarised and unpolarised Raman spectra are obtained from small single crystals of protoenstatite (Li,Sc)0.6Mg1.4Si2O6 stable at room temperature using the 488 nm or 514.5 nm lines of an Ar+ ion laser and a micro-Raman spectrometer with backscattering geometry. The Raman spectra were analysed and interpreted based on the lattice dynamical model. The experimental Raman frequencies and mode assignments (based on polarised single crystal spectra) are in good agreement with those obtained from lattice dynamical calculations.

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Ghose, S., Choudhury, N., Chaplot, S.L. et al. Lattice dynamics and Raman spectroscopy of protoenstatite Mg2Si2O6 . Phys Chem Minerals 20, 469–477 (1994).

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  • Olivine
  • Forsterite
  • Enstatite
  • Fayalite
  • Mg2SiO4