May 5, 2020

Scientists produce a magnetic nanocrystal with many potential applications

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, nanotechnology, quantum physics

Spinels are oxides with chemical formulas of the type AB2O4, where A is a divalent metal cation (positive ion), B is a trivalent metal cation, and O is oxygen. Spinels are valued for their beauty, which derives from the molecules’ spatial configurations, but spinels in which the trivalent cation B consists of the element chrome (Cr) are interesting for a reason that has nothing to do with aesthetics: They have magnetic properties with an abundance of potential technological applications, including gas sensors, drug carriers, data storage media, and components of telecommunications systems.

A study by Brazilian and Indian researchers investigated a peculiar kind of spinel: zinc-doped manganese chromite. Nanoparticles of this material, described by the formula Mn0.5 Zn0.5 Cr2O4 [where manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn) compose the A-site divalent cation], were synthesized in the laboratory and characterized by calculations based on density functional theory (DFT), a method derived from that is used in solid-state physics and chemistry to resolve complex crystal structures.

The material’s structural, electronic, vibrational and were determined by X-ray diffraction, neutron diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. A report of the study has been published in the Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials with the title “Structural, electronic, vibrational and magnetic properties of Zn2+ substituted MnCr2O4 nanoparticles.”

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