PACS. 61.12.-q Neutron diffraction and scattering – 61.66.Fn Inorganic compounds – 75.25.+z Spin arrangements in magnetically ordered materials (including neutron and spin-polarized electron studies, synchrotron-source x-ray scattering, etc.) – 75.30.Et Exchange and superexchange interactions
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract: We have studied in detail the crystal and magnetic structures of the oxyphosphates MFePO5 (M: divalent transition metal) using neutron powder diffraction as a function of temperature. All of them are isomorphic to the mixed valence compound α-Fe2PO5 with space-group Pnma. No disorder exists between the two metallic sites. The M2+O6 octahedra share edges between them and faces with Fe3+O6 octahedra building zigzag chains running parallel to the b-axis that are connected by PO4 tetrahedra. The topology of this structure gives rise to a complex pattern of super-exchange interactions responsible of the observed antiferromagnetic order. The magnetic structures are all collinear with the spin directed along the b-axis except for M = Co. The experimental magnetic moments of Cu+2 and Ni2+ correspond to the expected ionic value, on the contrary the magnetic moment of Fe3+ is reduced, probably due to covalence effects, and that of Co2+ is greater than the spin-only value indicating a non negligible orbital contribution. Using numerical calculations we have established a magnetic phase diagram adapted for this type of crystal structure and determined the constraints to be satisfied by the values of the exchange interactions in order to obtain the observed magnetic structure as the ground state.
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