Orthorhombic superstructures within the rare earth strontium-doped cobaltate perovskites: Ln1−xSrxCoO3−δ (Ln=Y3+, Dy3+–Yb3+; 0.750⩽x⩽0.875)
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AbstractA combination of electron, synchrotron X-ray and neutron powder diffraction reveals a new orthorhombic structure type within the Sr-doped rare earth perovskite cobaltates Ln1−xSrxCoO3−δ (Ln=Y3+, Dy3+, Ho3+, Er3+, Tm3+and Yb3+). Electron diffraction shows a C-centred cell based on a 2√2ap×4ap×4√2ap superstructure of the basic perovskite unit. Not all of these very weak satellite reflections are evident in the synchrotron X-ray and neutron powder diffraction data and the average structure of each member of this series could only be refined based on Cmma symmetry and a 2√2ap×4ap×2√2ap cell. The nature of structural and magnetic ordering in these phases relies on both oxygen vacancy and cation distribution. A small range of solid solution exists where this orthorhombic structure type is observed, centred roughly around the compositions Ln0.2Sr0.8CoO3−δ. In the case of Yb3+ the pure orthorhombic phase was only observed for 0.850⩽x⩽0.875. Tetragonal (I4/mmm; 2ap×2ap×4ap) superstructures were observed for compositions having higher or lower Sr-doping levels, or for compounds with rare earth ions larger than Dy3+. These orthorhombic phases show mixed valence (3+/4+) cobalt oxidation states between 3.2+ and 3.3+. DC magnetic susceptibility measurements show an additional magnetic transition for these orthorhombic phases compared to the associated tetragonal compounds with critical temperatures > 330 K.

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