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Dalton Trans. 2013 Feb 7;42(5):1550-66. doi: 10.1039/c2dt31938a. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

A new layered triangular antiferromagnet Li4FeSbO6: spin order, field-induced transitions and anomalous critical behavior.

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Faculty of Physics, Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia.


Structure, electrochemical, magnetic and resonance properties of new layered antimonate Li(4)FeSbO(6) were comprehensively studied using powder X-ray diffraction, cyclic voltammetry, magnetic susceptibility, heat capacity, electron spin resonance and Mössbauer spectroscopy. In the crystal structure the iron ions form the triangular network within (LiFeSbO(6))(3-) layers alternating with nonmagnetic lithium layers. The electrochemical activity studied implies an Fe(3+)/Fe(4+) redox couple at 4.3 V (ox.) and 3.9 V (red.) thereby revealing that Li can be reversibly extracted. The long-range antiferromagnetic order was found to occur at the Néel temperature, T(N) ≈ 3.6 K, confirmed both by the magnetic susceptibility data and specific heat ones. The effective magnetic moment is estimated to be 5.93 μ(B)/f.u. and satisfactorily agrees with theoretical estimations assuming high-spin configuration of Fe(3+) (S = 5/2). In the magnetically ordered state, though, the magnetization demonstrates rather peculiar behavior. An additional anomaly on the M(T) curves appears at T(2) < T(N) in moderate magnetic field. The positions of transitions at T(N) and T(2) separate increasingly with increasing external field. Multiple measurements consistently demonstrated field-sensitive moving of magnetic phase boundaries constituting a unique phase diagram for the compound under study. The complex low-dimensional (2D) nature of magnetic coupling was confirmed by the dynamic magnetic properties study. Electron spin resonance from Fe(3+) ions in paramagnetic phase is characterized by a temperature independent effective g-factor of 1.99 ± 0.01. However, the distortion and broadening of the ESR line were found to take place upon approaching the magnetically ordered state from above. The divergence of the temperature-dependent linewidth is analyzed in terms of both critical behavior close to long-range magnetic order and the Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless (BKT)-type transition. Heat capacity measurements even at zero field manifested an appearance of the additional anomaly at temperatures below the Néel temperature. The temperature dependence of ESR intensity, linewidth and shift of the resonant field imply an extended region of short-range order correlations in the compound studied. The rich variety of the anomalies in magnetic and resonance properties makes this new antimonate a very interesting system to investigate the multiple phase transitions and competing exchange interaction due to the critical role of the layered structure organization accompanied by the frustration effects in triangular antiferromagnets.

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