Pressure-Treated Curium

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Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 15
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5731.15c

Pressure-induced delocalization of f electrons in rare earths and actinides involves an intimate relation between electronic configuration, structural degrees of freedom, anomalous lattice dynamics, and magnetism. A high-pressure x-ray diffraction study of curium by Heathman et al. (p. 110) revealed a sequence of structural phase transitions as its f electrons delocalize with increasing pressure. They identify an unusual lattice structure previously unobserved in other actinides, and on the basis of band-structure calculations, they argue that this phase is stabilized by antiferromagnetic ordering. Thus, curium joins cobalt and iron as metals that have lattice structures stabilized by magnetism.

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