Order–Disorder Transition and Weak Ferromagnetism in the Perovskite Metal Formate Frameworks of [(CH3)2NH2][M(HCOO)3] and [(CH3)2ND2][M(HCOO)3] (M = Ni, Mn)

We report the synthesis, crystal structure, thermal, dielectric, Raman, infrared, and magnetic properties of hydrogen and deuterated divalent metal formates, [(CH3)2NH2]­[M­(HCOO)3] and [(CH3)2ND2]­[M­(HCOO)3], where M = Ni, Mn. On the basis of Raman and IR data, assignment of the observed modes to respective vibrations of atoms is proposed. The thermal studies show that for the Ni compounds deuteration leads to a decrease of the phase transition temperature Tc by 5.6 K, whereas it has a negligible effect on Tc in the Mn analogues. This behavior excludes the possibility of proton (deuteron) movement along the N–H···O (N–D···O) bonds as the microscopic origin of the first-order phase transition observed in these crystals below 190 K. According to single-crystal X-ray diffraction, the dimethylammonium (DMA) cations are dynamically disordered at room temperature, because the hydrogen bonds between the NH2 (ND2) groups and the metal-formate framework are disordered. The highly dynamic nature of hydrogen bonds in the high-temperature phases manifests in the Raman and IR spectra through very large bandwidth of modes involving vibrations of the NH2 (ND2) groups. The abrupt decrease in the bandwidth and shifts of modes near Tc signifies the ordering of hydrogen bonds and DMA+ cations as well as significant distortion of the metal-formate framework across the phase transition. However, some amount of motion is retained by the DMA+ cation in the ferroelectric phase and a complete freezing-in of this motion occurs below 100 K. The dielectric studies reveal pronounced dielectric dispersion that can be attributed to slow dynamics of large DMA+ cations. The low-temperature studies also show that magnetic properties of the studied compounds can be explained assuming that they are ordered ferrimagnetically with nearly compensated magnetic moments of Ni and Mn. IR data reveal weak anomalies below 40 K that arise due to spin-phonon coupling. Our results also show that due to structural phase transition more significant distortion of the metal-formate framework occurs for the deuterated samples.