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Issue 3, 2017
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Rearrangement of van der Waals stacking and formation of a singlet state at T = 90 K in a cluster magnet

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Abstract

Insulating Nb3Cl8 is a layered chloride consisting of two-dimensional triangular layers of Seff = 1/2 Nb3Cl13 clusters at room temperature. Magnetic susceptibility measurement show a sharp, hysteretic drop to a temperature independent value below T = 90 K. Specific heat measurements show that the transition is first order, with ΔS ≈ 5 J K−1 mol−1 f.u.−1, and a low temperature T-linear contribution originating from defect spins. Neutron and X-ray diffraction show a lowering of symmetry from trigonal P[3 with combining macron]m1 to monoclinic C2/m symmetry, with a change in layer stacking from –AB–AB– to –AB′–BC′–CA′– and no observed magnetic order. This lowering of symmetry and rearrangement of successive layers evades geometric magnetic frustration to form a singlet ground state. It is the lowest temperature at which a change in stacking sequence is known to occur in a van der Waals solid, occurs in the absence of orbital degeneracies, and suggests that designer 2-D heterostructures may be able to undergo similar phase transitions.

Graphical abstract: Rearrangement of van der Waals stacking and formation of a singlet state at T = 90 K in a cluster magnet

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Publication details

The article was received on 31 Oct 2016, accepted on 09 Jan 2017 and first published on 11 Jan 2017


Article type: Research Article
DOI: 10.1039/C6QI00470A
Citation: Inorg. Chem. Front., 2017,4, 481-490
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    Rearrangement of van der Waals stacking and formation of a singlet state at T = 90 K in a cluster magnet

    J. P. Sheckelton, K. W. Plumb, B. A. Trump, C. L. Broholm and T. M. McQueen, Inorg. Chem. Front., 2017, 4, 481
    DOI: 10.1039/C6QI00470A

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