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Structural isotope effects in metal hydrides and deuterides

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Historically the extraction of high-quality crystallographic information from inorganic samples having high hydrogen contents, such as metal hydrides, has involved preparing deuterated samples prior to study using neutron powder difraction. We demonstrate, through direct comparison of the crystal structure refinements of the binary hydrides SrH2 and BaH2 with their deuteride analogues at 2 K and as a function of temperature, that precise and accurate structural information can be obtained from rapid data collections from samples containing in excess of 60 at.% hydrogen using modern high-flux, medium resolution, continuous wavelength neutron powder difraction instruments. Furthermore, observed isotope-effects in the extracted lattice parameters and atomic positions illustrate the importance of investigating compounds in their natural hydrogenous form whenever possible.

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