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  1. All-nitrogen solids, if successfully synthesized, are ideal high-energy-density materials because they store a great amount of energy and produce only harmless N 2 gas upon decomposition. Currently, the only method to obtain all-nitrogen solids is to apply high pressure to N 2 crystals. However, products such as cg-N tend to decompose upon releasing the pressure. Compared to covalent solids, molecular crystals are more likely to remain stable during decompression because they can relax the strain by increasing the intermolecular distances. The challenge of such a route is to find a molecular crystal that can attain a favorable phase under elevated pressure. In this work, we show, by designing a novel N 16 molecule (tripentazolylamine) and examining its crystal structures under a series of pressures, that the aromatic units and high molecular symmetry are the key factors to achieving an all-nitrogen molecular crystal. Density functional calculations and structural studies reveal that this new all-nitrogen molecular crystal exhibits a particularly slow enthalpy increase with pressure due to the highly efficient crystal packing of its highly symmetric molecules. Vibration mode calculations and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations show that N 16 crystals are metastable at ambient pressure and could remain inactive up to 400 K. The initial reaction steps of the decomposition are calculated by following the pathway of the concerted excision of N 2 from the N 5 group as revealed by the MD simulations. 
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  2. Abstract

    Helium, ammonia and ice are among the major components of giant gas planets, and predictions of their chemical structures are therefore crucial in predicting planetary dynamics. Here we demonstrate a strong driving force originating from the alternation of the electrostatic interactions for helium to react with crystals of polar molecules such as ammonia and ice. We show that ammonia and helium can form thermodynamically stable compounds above 45 GPa, while ice and helium can form thermodynamically stable compounds above 300 GPa. The changes in the electrostatic interactions provide the driving force for helium insertion under high pressure, but the mechanism is very different to those that occur in ammonia and ice. This work extends the reactivity of helium into new types of compounds and demonstrates the richness of the chemistry of this most stable element in the periodic table.

     
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