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Preparation, Crystal Chemistry, and Hidden Magnetic Order in the Family of Trigonal Layered Tellurates A2Mn(4+)TeO6 (A = Li, Na, Ag, or Tl)

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journal contribution
posted on 17.04.2019 by Vladimir B. Nalbandyan, Igor L. Shukaev, Grigory V. Raganyan, Artem Svyazhin, Alexander N. Vasiliev, Elena A. Zvereva
We report the first four magnetic representatives of the trigonal layered A2M­(4+)­TeO6 (here, M = Mn) family. Na2MnTeO6 was synthesized from NaMnO2, NaNO3, and TeO2 at 650–720 °C, but analogues for which A = Li and K could not be obtained by direct synthesis. However, those for which A = Li, Ag, and Tl (but not K) were prepared by exchange reactions between Na2MnTeO6 and the corresponding molten nitrates. The oxygen content was verified by redox titration. According to the X-ray diffraction Rietveld analysis, the four new compounds are isostructural with Na2GeTeO6, trigonal (P3̅1c), based on ilmenite-like layers of edge-shared oxygen octahedra occupied by Mn­(4+) and Te­(6+) in an ordered manner. These layers are separated by cations A, also in a distorted octahedral coordination. However, off-center displacement of Tl+ is so strong, due to the lone-pair effect, that its coordination is better described as trigonal pyramid. Each MnO6 octahedron shares two opposite faces with AO6 octahedra, whereas TeO6 octahedra avoid sharing faces. Besides this double-layered structure, Na2MnTeO6 was often accompanied by a transient triple-layered rhombohedral polytype. However, it could not be prepared as a single phase and disappeared on annealing at 700–720 °C. All A2MnTeO6 samples (A = Ag, Li, Na, or Tl) revealed the unusual phenomenon of hidden magnetic order. Low-field magnetic susceptibility data exhibit a Curie–Weiss type behavior for all samples under study and do not show any sign of the establishment of long-range magnetic order down to 2 K. In contrast, both the magnetic susceptibility in sufficiently high external magnetic fields and the zero-field specific heat unambiguously revealed an onset of antiferromagnetic order at low temperatures. The frustration index f = Θ/TN takes values larger than the classical values for three-dimensional antiferromagnets and implies moderate frustration on the triangular lattice.