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Emergence of A‑Site Cation Order in the Small Rare-Earth Melilites SrREGa3O7 (RE = Dy–Lu, Y)

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posted on 2021-08-04, 12:34 authored by Cécile Genevois, Haytem Bazzaoui, Marina Boyer, Sandra Ory, Yannick Ledemi, Younès Messaddeq, Michael J. Pitcher, Mathieu Allix
SrREGa3O7 melilite ceramics with large rare-earth elements (RE = La to Y) are famous materials especially known for their luminescence properties. Using an innovative approach, the full and congruent crystallization from glass process, SrREGa3O7 transparent polycrystalline ceramics with small rare earth elements (RE = Dy–Lu and Y) have been successfully synthesized and characterized. Interestingly, compared to the classic tetragonal (P4̅21m) melilite structure composed of mixed Sr/RE cationic sites, these compositions can crystallize in a 3 × 1 × 1 orthorhombic (P21212) superstructure. A detailed study of the superstructure, investigated using different techniques (synchrotron and neutron powder diffraction, STEM-HAADF imaging, and EDS mapping), highlights the existence of a Sr/RE cation ordering favored by a large Sr/RE size mismatch and a sufficiently small RE cation. An appropriate control of the synthesis conditions through glass crystallization enables the formation of the desired polymorphs, either ordered or disordered. The influence of this tailored cationic ordering/disordering on the RE luminescent spectroscopic properties have been investigated. A stronger structuration of the RE emission band is observed in the ordered ceramic compared to the disordered ceramic and the glass, whose band shapes are very similar, indicating that the RE environments in the glass and disordered ceramic are close.

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