Abstract

Compression and decompression experiments on face-centered cubic (fcc) γ′-Fe4N to 77 GPa at room temperature were conducted in a diamond-anvil cell with in situ X-ray diffraction (XRD) to examine its stability under high pressure. In the investigated pressure range, γ′-Fe4N did not show any structural transitions. However, a peak broadening was observed in the XRD patterns above 60 GPa. The obtained pressure-volume data to 60 GPa were fitted to the third-order Birch-Murnaghan equation of state (EoS), which yielded the following elastic parameters: K0 = 169 (6) GPa, K′ = 4.1 (4), with a fixed V0 = 54.95 Å at 1 bar. A quantitative Schreinemakers' web was obtained at 15–60 GPa and 300–1600 K by combining the EoS for γ′-Fe4N with reported phase stability data at low pressures. The web indicates the existence of an invariant point at 41 GPa and 1000 K where γ′-Fe4N, hexagonal closed-packed (hcp) ε-Fe7N3, double hexagonal closed-packed β-Fe7N3, and hcp Fe phases are stable. From the invariant point, a reaction γ′-Fe4N = β-Fe7N3 + hcp Fe originates toward the high-pressure side, which determines the high-pressure stability of γ′-Fe4N at 56 GPa and 300 K. Therefore, the γ′-Fe4N phase observed in the experiments beyond this pressure must be metastable. The obtained results support the existing idea that β-Fe7N3 would be the most nitrogen-rich iron compound under core conditions. An iron carbonitride Fe7(C,N)3 found as a mantle-derived diamond inclusion implies that β-Fe7N3 and Fe7C3 may form a continuous solid solution in the mantle deeper than 1000 km depth. Diamond formation may be related to the presence of fluids in the mantle, and dehydration reactions of high-pressure hydrous phase D might have supplied free fluids in the mantle at depths greater than 1000 km. As such, the existence of Fe7(C,N)3 in diamond can be an indicator of water transportation to the deep mantle.

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