Of the three industrially important lead oxides PbO, Pb3O4 and PbO2 [1-4] the first two are readily accessible through chemical synthesis, whereas PbO2 can only be reached through high pressure, electrochemical or strongly oxidizing synthesis routes [5-7].
In nature lead dioxide forms oxidatively during hydrothermal mineralization . The respective β modification, named plattnerite is a rare mineral and has hitherto only been characterized by powder X-ray or neutron diffraction.
The samples studied originate from Mine du Pradet in Cap Garonne, France and from Mount Trevasco in Bergamo, Italy. Single crystal X-ray diffraction measurements show that β-PbO2 crystallizes in the rutile-type structure with space group P42/mnm without additional reflections or a sign for a structural transformation between room temperature and 90 K .
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