Magnetic Minerals Made from Scratch

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Science  08 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5561, pp. 1797
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5561.1797c

The jarosite minerals exhibit unusual spin-frustrated antiferromagnetic behavior; this arises from Fe3+ and Cr3+ ions that reside in octahedral oxygen-coordinated sites that are connected in sheets. Difficulties in synthesizing these minerals in a pure form have stymied attempts to resolve questions concerning their magnetic properties.

Using a redox step to improve kinetic control, Grohol and Nocera present a general approach to hydrothermal synthesis of the jarosites and have prepared a vanadium derivative. Papoutsakis et al. examined the structural basis for the magnetic properties of these minerals and show that, although the Fe and Cr compounds use their d orbitals to form σ bonds to the O atoms, in the V mineral the d orbitals form π bonds that lead to a ferromagnetic material. — PDS

J Am. Chem. Soc., 10.1021/ja016832u; 10.1021/ja016833m (2002).

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