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Materials (Basel). 2019 Nov 28;12(23). pii: E3947. doi: 10.3390/ma12233947.

Influence of Crystallite Size on the Magnetic Order in Semiconducting ZnCr2Se4 Nanoparticles.

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Institute of Chemistry, University of Silesia, 40-007 Katowice, Poland.
Institute of Material Science, University of Silesia, 40-007 Katowice, Poland.
Institute of Physics, University of Silesia, 40-007 Katowice, Poland.


Structural, electrical, magnetic, and specific heat measurements were carried out on ZnCr2Se4 single crystal and on nanocrystals obtained from the milling of this single crystal after 1, 3, and 5 h, whose crystallite sizes were 25.2, 2.5, and 2 nm, respectively. For this purpose, the high-energy ball-milling method was used. The above studies showed that all samples have a spinel structure, and are p-type semiconductors with less milling time and n-type with a higher one. In turn, the decrease in crystallite size caused a change in the magnetic order, from antiferromagnetic for bulk material and nanocrystals after 1 and 3 h of milling to spin-glass with the freezing temperature Tf = 20 K for the sample after 5 h of milling. The spin-glass behavior for this sample was derived from a broad peak of dc magnetic susceptibility, a splitting of the zero-field-cooling and field-cooling susceptibilities, and from the shift of Tf towards the higher frequency of the ac susceptibility curves. A spectacular result for this sample is also the lack of a peak on the specific heat curve, suggesting a disappearance of the structural transition that is observed for the bulk single crystal.


antiferromagnetic; nanoparticles; semiconductors; specific heat; spin-glass

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