It is possible to alter the atomic arrangement of materials under extremely high pressures, altering the structure of matter and tuning important technological properties. The PEARL diffractometer at the ISIS Neutron Facility was explicitly designed to measure these changes under pressure. Mara Capone is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, co-funded by the European Spallation Source and ISIS through an ISIS Facility Development Studentship grant. Mara performed neutron-diffraction measurements up to 6 GPa on PEARL, and high-pressure temperature-dependent magnetisation measurements in the ISIS Materials Characterisation Laboratory to study the structural and magnetic properties of the perovskite structured LaCo0.9Mn0.1O3.
Oxides with the perovskite structure are an important class of materials, and the LaCoxMn1−xO3 series is an appealing ferroic material with potential solid-state technological applications. It has been shown, for example, that low-level doping of LaCoO3 with manganese (Mn) cations forms an effective catalyst for the oxidation of substances in vehicle exhausts. The electronic properties of the material are governed by subtle distortions of the atomic octahedra that build up its structure, and this study measured these distortions with unprecedented precision. The results, published in the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, revealed different behaviour than earlier X-ray studies.
Related publication: “Magnetic and structural changes in LaCo0.9Mn0.1O3 at high pressure" Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 2018, Volume 30, Number 3, DOI: 10.1088/1361-648X/aaa042
Authors: M Capone (ISIS, ESS, University of Edinburgh), C J Ridley (ISIS), N P Funnell (ISIS), G B G Stenning (ISIS), J S Loveday (University of Edinburgh), M Guthrie (ESS) and C L Bull (ISIS).
Instrument: PEARL and Materials Characterisation Lab