The occurrence of so-called temperature-induced neutral-ionic transitions (TINIT) in mixed-stack charge-transfer crystals is quite rare. Here we reinvestigate one of the crystals which has been claimed to undergo such a transition, 3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine-tetracyanoquinodimethane (TMB-TCNQ). Extensive optical data allow us to conclude that the transition should be classified as a valence instability, and not as a "true" TINIT, as the ∼0.5 neutral-ionic borderline is not crossed. The ionicity ±, or average charge at the molecular sites, indeed changes very little at the transition, from about 0.3 to about 0.4, and is accompanied by stack dimerization. The transition is first order with large hysteresis, and the crystal may crack or break. For this reason we have been unable to collect x-ray structural data on the low-temperature phase, but with the help of semiempirical calculations we are able to assess a plausible scenario for this peculiar phase transition and its mechanism.
|Journal||Physical Review B : Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 3 Jan 2017|