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Structural studies of a mixed-valence state in the incommensurate composite crystal Sr1.261CoO3

Author(s): Masaaki Isobe, Hiroyuki Yoshida, Eiji Takayama Muromachi and Kenji Ohoyama

Journal: Science and Technology of Advanced Materials
ISSN 1468-6996

Volume: 11;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 065004;
Date: 2010;
Original page

The incommensurate modulated crystal structure of the hexagonal cobalt oxide Sr1.261CoO3 has been studied using a four-dimensional (4D) superspace profile analysis of neutron powder diffraction data. Sr1.261CoO3 is a composite crystal that consists of the [CoO3] and [2Sr] subsystems. The [CoO3] subsystem forms 1D chains that run parallel to the c-axis and consist of face-sharing CoO6 polyhedra with octahedral (Oh) and trigonal prismatic (TP) coordinations. The structure analysis reveals that the [CoO3] chains contain 73.9% Oh and 26.1% TP sites, and that the TP sites have longer Co–O bonds than the Oh sites: dav. =2.039(4) Å (TP) and 1.895(3) Å (Oh). The averaged Co bond valences are Co3.56(3)+ in the Oh sites and Co2.45(3)+ in the TP sites, suggesting that a considerable amount of Co3+ ions are mixed with Co4+ions in the Oh sites and with Co2+ ions in the TP sites. The observed magnetic susceptibility can be well explained assuming that the compound has the Co mixed-valence state with the spin configurations of S=0 low-spin state for Co3+(dε6), S=1/2 low-spin state for Co4+(dε5) and S=3/2 high-spin state for Co2+(dε5dγ2). The Weiss temperature, approximately 0.8 K, implies that Sr1.261CoO3 naturally assumes a Curie paramagnetic state, probably owing to the obstruction of the intrachain magnetic interaction by the nonmagnetic Co3+ ions. These results suggest that the nonmagnetic Co3+ ions play an essential role in the magnetism of Sr2γCoO3 systems.
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