Anisotropic Thermal Expansion of p-Terphenyl: a Self-Assembled Supramolecular Array of Poly-p-phenyl Nanoribbons

  • Luisa Barba
  • Giuseppe Chita
  • Gaetano CampiEmail author
  • Lorenza Suber
  • Elvira Maria Bauer
  • Augusto Marcelli
  • Antonio Bianconi
Original Paper


The recent discovery of superconductivity in a metallic aromatic hydrocarbon, alkali-doped p-terphenyl, has attracted considerable interest. The critical temperature T c ranges from few to 123 K, the record for organic superconductors, due to uncontrolled competition of multiple phases and dopants concentrations. In the proposed mechanism of Fano resonance in a superlattice of quantum wires with coexisting polarons and Fermi particles, the lattice properties play a key role. Here, we report a study of the temperature evolution of the parent compound p-terphenyl crystal structure proposed to be made of a self-assembled supramolecular network of nanoscale nanoribbons. Using temperature-dependent synchrotron X-ray diffraction, we report the anisotropic thermal expansion in the ab plane, which supports the presence of a nanoscale network of one-dimensional nanoribbons running in the b-axis direction in the P21/a structure. Below the enantiotropic phase transition at 193 K, the order parameter of the C-1 structure follows a power law behavior with the critical exponent α = 0.34 ± 0.02 and the thermal expansion of the a-axis and b-axis show major changes supporting the formation of a two-dimensional bonds network. The large temperature range of the orientation fluctuations in a double well potential of the central phenyl has been determined.


Synchrotron X ray diffraction Lattice dynamics Superconductivity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNR-Istituto di Cristallografia (IC) and Elettra-Sincrotrone TriesteTriesteItaly
  2. 2.CNR-Istituto di Cristallografia (IC)RomaItaly
  3. 3.CNR-Istituto di Struttura della Materia (ISM)RomaItaly
  4. 4.CNR-Istituto Struttura della Materia (ISM)TriesteItaly
  5. 5.Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN)-Laboratori Nazionali di FrascatiFrascatiItaly
  6. 6.Rome International Center for Materials Science Superstripes (RICMASS)RomeItaly
  7. 7.National Research Nuclear University MephiMoscowRussia

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