American Chemical Society
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Observation of Vacancies, Faults, and Superstructures in Ln5Mo2O12 (Ln = La, Y, and Lu) Compounds with Direct Mo–Mo Bonding

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posted on 2017-10-26, 16:07 authored by Diane M. Colabello, Elizabeth M. Sobalvarro, John P. Sheckelton, Joerg C. Neuefeind, Tyrel M. McQueen, Peter G. Khalifah
Among oxide compounds with direct metal–metal bonding, the Y5Mo2O12 (A5B2O12) structural family of compounds has a particularly intriguing low-dimensional structure due to the presence of bioctahedral B2O10 dimers arranged in one-dimensional edge-sharing chains along the direction of the metal–metal bonds. Furthermore, these compounds can have a local magnetic moment due to the noninteger oxidation state (+4.5) of the transition metal, in contrast to the conspicuous lack of a local moment that is commonly observed when oxide compounds with direct metal–metal bonding have integer oxidation states resulting from the lifting of orbital degeneracy typically induced by the metal–metal bonding. Although a monoclinic C2/m structure has been previously proposed for Ln5Mo2O12 (Ln = La–Lu and Y) members of this family based on prior single crystal diffraction data, it is found that this structural model misses many important structural features. On the basis of synchrotron powder diffraction data, it is shown that the C2/m monoclinic unit cell represents a superstructure relative to a previously unrecognized orthorhombic Immm subcell and that the superstructure derives from the ordering of interchangeable Mo2O10 and LaO6 building blocks. The superstructure for this reason is typically highly faulted, as evidenced by the increased breadth of superstructure diffraction peaks associated with a coherence length of 1–2 nm in the c* direction. Finally, it is shown that oxygen vacancies can occur when Ln = La, producing an oxygen deficient stoichiometry of La5Mo2O11.55 and an approximately 10-fold reduction in the number of unpaired electrons due to the reduction of the average Mo valence from +4.5 to +4.05, a result confirmed by magnetic susceptibility measurements. This represents the first observation of oxygen vacancies in this family of compounds and provides an important means of continuously tuning the magnetic interactions within the one-dimensional octahedral chains of this system.