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Journal ArticleDOI

Magnetic properties of RCr6Ge6 compounds

01 Mar 1994-Journal of Alloys and Compounds (Elsevier)-Vol. 205, pp 77-80

Abstract: Compounds of the composition RCr6Ge6 have been prepared and investigated by X-ray diffraction. The crystal structure was identified as the MgFe6Ge6 type. The magnetic properties of the compounds have been investigated through measurements of the magnetization as a function of applied field and temperature. In the compounds with R  Dy, Ho, Er, no indication of magnetic ordering was found for temperatures down to 5 K. A modest ordering was found in TbCr6Ge6. Magnetization measurements on YCr6Ge6 revealed a very small saturation moment of about 0.2 μB on the Cr ions. In high magnetic fields there is a tendency towards an anti-parallel arrangement of the Tb and Cr moments.

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Magnetic properties of RCr6Ge6 compounds
Brabers, J.H.V.J.; Buschow, K.H.J.; de Boer, F.R.
DOI
10.1016/0925-8388(94)90769-2
Publication date
1994
Published in
Journal of Alloys and Compounds
Link to publication
Citation for published version (APA):
Brabers, J. H. V. J., Buschow, K. H. J., & de Boer, F. R. (1994). Magnetic properties of
RCr6Ge6 compounds.
Journal of Alloys and Compounds
,
205
, 77-80.
https://doi.org/10.1016/0925-8388(94)90769-2
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Download date:10 Aug 2022

Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 205
(1994) 77-80 77
JALCOM 978
Magnetic properties of
RCr6Ge6
compounds
J.H.V.J. Brabers a, K.H.J. Buschow b and F.R. de Boer a
aVan der Waals-Zeeman Laboratorium, University of Amsterdam, 1018 XE Amsterdam (Netherlands)
bPhilips Research Laboratories, P.O. Box 80.000, 5600 JA Eindhoven (Netherlands)
(Received August 18, 1993)
Abstract
Compounds of the composition RCr6Ge6 have been prepared and investigated by X-ray diffraction. The crystal
structure was identified as the
MgFe6Ge6
type. The magnetic properties of the compounds have been investigated
through measurements of the magnetization as a function of applied field and temperature. In the compounds
with R-=Dy, Ho, Er, no indication of magnetic ordering was found for temperatures down to 5 K. A modest
ordering was found in
TbCr6Ge 6.
Magnetization measurements
on YCr6Ge 6
revealed a very small saturation
moment of about 0.2 txB on the Cr ions. In high magnetic fields there is a tendency towards an anti-parallel
arrangement of the Tb and Cr moments.
1. Introduction
Recently, results of various investigations have been
reported on the magnetic properties of RT6Ge6 com-
pounds with T-Mn, Cr [1--4]. These compounds crys-
tallize in the hexagonal MgFe6Ge 6 structure (space
group
P6/mmm,
Pearson symbol hP13), and consist of
a layered arrangement of T ions separated by R and
Ge ions.
The compounds with T=Mn show a wide variety of
magnetic phenomena, often dominated by the interplay
between the R-Mn and the antiferromagnetic inter-
layer Mn-Mn interaction [2]. High-magnetic-field mea-
surements revealed a quite substantial R-Mn inter-
action, comparable in strength with interactions de-
termined earlier on R-Fe and R-Co interrnetallics.
The low value of the magnetization at low temper-
atures and fields, however, raised questions about the
nature of the R-R interaction and the magnetic structure
of the R moments. As preliminary studies on GdCr6Ge6
[3] could not fully clarify the magnetic behaviour of
the R moments, we performed further experiments on
the other RCr6Ge6 compounds with R=-Y, Tb, Dy,
Ho, Er.
2. Experimental details
The polycrystalline samples used in the present in-
vestigation were prepared by arc-melting and subsequent
annealing at 1073 K for 3 weeks in vacuum. After this
treatment, the specimens were checked by X-ray dif-
fraction, and found to be approximately single phase
(MgFe6Ge6 structure), except for the YCr6Ge6 sample
in which a small amount of an unknown phase was
detected.
Measurements of the magnetization as a function of
magnetic fields up to 5.5 T, and as a function of
temperature in the range between 1.8 K and 350 K,
were performed on a SQUID magnetometer.
The magnetization of WbCr6Ge 6 was measured as a
function of applied field up to 35 T in the high-field
installation of the University of Amsterdam [5].
3. Results and discussion
The lattice parameters for the RCr6Ge6 compounds,
which were deduced from the X-ray data, are listed
in Table 1. The decrease of the lattice parameters with
increasing R-atom number, due to the lanthanide con-
traction, is clearly recognizable. The lattice parameters
of the Y compound are close to the lattice parameters
TABLE 1. Lattice parameters and effective moments
Compound a c /zef r (IxB/f.u.)
(A) (A)
YCr6Ge 6 5.167 8.273 -
TbCr6Ge6 5.167 8.275 10.2
DyCr~Ge6 5.162 8.272 11.0
HoCr6Ge 6 5.158 8.269 10.7
ErCr6Ge6
5.150 8.258 11.1
0925-8388/94/$07.00 © 1994 Elsevier Sequoia. All rights reserved
SSD!
0925-8388(93)00978-8

78
J.H.V.J. Brabers et al. / Magnetic properties of RCr6Ge 6 compounds
of the Tb compound, as in many other R-3d inter-
metallics. =,
For the
RCr6Ge6
compounds with R- Dy, Ho, Er,
measurements of the magnetization M as a function
of temperature give no indication of magnetic ordering
between 5 K and 350 K, and suggest a paramagnetic r
state in this temperature range. The measurement on x
ErCr6Ge 6
presented in Fig. 1 illustrates this clearly and
is representative for the compounds with R = Dy, Ho.
Plots of the inverse susceptibility (defined here as
X -1 =tzoH/M)
as a function of temperature between
(a)
5 K and 350 K, and taken at a field of 3 T, confirm
the paramagnetic state, as they show Curie-Weiss be-
haviour even at temperatures far below room tem- ,-'-
perature (Figl 2). Values of the effective moments per
formula unit deduced from the linear part of the curves
pictured in Fig. 2 are given in Table 1. In all cases,
the effective moment exceeds the effective free-ion r
moment of the R-component, although the differences x
remain within 10%. This could be taken as an indication
for a small Cr-moment in the
Rfr6Ge6
compounds•
The possibility of a magnetic moment on the Cr ions
led us to the investigation of the
YCr6Ge 6 compound•
(b)
As Y is non-magnetic, this compound offers the pos-
sibility of a more detailed study of the Cr moments•
Figure 3 shows the magnetization as a function of
temperature between 1.8 K and 55 K. Even down to E
1.8 K there is no indication for magnetic ordering• The
inverse susceptibility
vs.
temperature (X-I =
txoH/M)
does not show Curie-Weiss behaviour at low temper-
atures, and tends to become linear only at temperatures r
Ib¢
above 200 K (see Fig. 4). Due to the presence of a
small amount of a second phase in the sample used
in the present investigation, the true origin of this non-
Curie-Weiss behaviour is not clear• In Fig. 5 mea-
surements of the magnetization as a function of applied
fields up to 5.5 T are presented• The magnetic isotherms
were obtained at 1.8 K and 5 K. Both curves in Fig.
5 show a tendency towards saturation at low fields
already• This observation is quite surprising in view of
the low saturation magnetization, and the fact that Fig.
3.00
2.50
2.00
1.50
1.00
0.50
0.00
DyCr6Ge 6
0 100 200 300 400
T (K)
2.00
1.50
1.00
0.50
0.00
HoCr6Ge 6
, ,."
i i i
0 50 100 150 200
T (K)
3.00
2.50
2.00
1.50
1.00
0.50
0.00
0
ErCr6Ge 6
. .,,••...•.• •...•'""••'"'••
•...."
...•'•
.•••"
, a a
100 200 300
400
(c)
T (K)
Fig. 2. Inverse susceptibility
vs.
temperature for various RCr6Ge6
compounds with R-=Dy, Ho, Er. The measurements were all
performed in a magnetic field of 3 T.
<
v
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
0
, i q--
100 200 300
400
T (K)
Fig. 1. Magnetization
vs.
temperature for ErCr6Ge6 (B ~3 T).
%
7
6
5 "•
4
3
2
1
0
0
VV'vvvvvvvv, vvL vvv,
10 20 30 40 50 60
T (K)
Fig. 3. Magnetization
vs.
temperature for YCr6Ge 6 at an applied
magnetic field of 0.1 T.

J,H. V.J. Brabers et al. / Magnetic properties of RCr6Ge 6 compounds
79
4
<
3
2
7
o
....**¢...°...........'°"" ~"'~"'°~**
°.
0 100 200 300 400
T (K)
Fig. 4. Inverse susceptibility
vs.
temperature for YCr6Ge 6, mea-
sured in a magnetic field of 3 T,
2.00
1.50
1.00
0.50
0.00
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
B (T)
Fig. 5. Magnetic isotherms for YCr6Ge 6 measured at 1,8 K (higher
curve) and 5 K (lower curve).
3 suggests only very weak magnetic interactions in this
compound. An explanation for the saturation behaviour
could be a strongly field-dependent Cr moment. Both
curves pictured in Fig. 5 suggest a saturated Cr moment
of approximately 0.2 IZB in this compound.
For TbCr6Ge 6 the situation is slightly different and
more like that found in GdCr6Ge 6 [3]. Measurements
of the magnetization as a function of temperature in
different applied fields (0.1 T, 1 T, 5.5 T), reveal magnetic
ordering at temperatures below 40 K (Fig. 6). Most
likely, this magnetic ordering is enhanced by the in-
tersublattice interaction, which plays a much more
important role in GdCr6Ge6 and TbCr6Ge6 than in the
other compounds investigated (Gd and Tb have com-
paratively high spin moments). A M6ssbauer study on
GdCr6Ge6 [3] revealed a negative value for the electric
field tensor element V=. Generally one may expect a
relation between Vz~ and A2 ° of the type A2 = -o~Vzz,
where o~ has been found for a number of ternary R - 3d
compounds to be equal to about 46 [6]. According to
this relationship a negative V= value would correspond
to a positive A2 ° value. For the Tb moments, which
correspond to a negative Stevens factor a j, a positive
A2 ° value contributes to an easy axis anisotropy [7]. It
is therefore likely that in TbCr6Ge6 the crystal field
tends to align the Tb moments along the c axis, thereby
,,,,M
<
v
6O
5O
4O
3O
2O
10
0
0
! \\
10 20 30 40 50
T (K)
Fig. 6. Magnetization
vs.
temperature for TbCr6Ge6 in three
different applied fields of 0.1 T (lower curve), 1 T (middle curve)
and 5.5 T (upper curve) respectively.
A
E
<
a
7
X
3.00
2.50
2.00
1.50
1.00
0.50
0.00
y
0 100 200 300 400
T (K)
Fig. 7. Inverse susceptibility
vs.
temperature for TbCr6Ge 6. (Mea-
surement taken in a field of 3 T).
I0
2
~vvvV VVVV
6
4
2
0 I
0 I0
vV
YV
o?__
8
6
4
2
0
0 1 2 3 4 5
B (T)
I I
20 30
B(T)
40
Fig. 8. Magnetic isotherms for TbCr6Ge 6 at 4.2 K (main figure)
and 5 K (inset).
favouring a sharper magnetic ordering than in Gd-
Cr6Ge6.
A peculiar feature of the measurements presented
in Fig. 6 is the pronounced increase of the Curie
temperature with increasing applied field B, from a

80 J.H.V.J.
Brabers et al. / Magnetic properties of RCr6Ge 6 compounds
=.
10
8
6
4
2
0
*
DyCr6Ge6
(a)
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
=.
10
8
6
4
2
0
(b)
9~e•
vv
i i i L
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
To investigate the type of magnetic ordering which
occurs in
ThCr6Ge6,
magnetic isotherms were obtained
at 5 K and 4.2 K and in fields up to 5.5 T and 35 T
respectively. As can be seen in Fig. 8, the magnetization
shows a tendency towards saturation at low fields al-
ready, although a slight differential susceptibility re-
mains, even at high fields. The magnetic moment per
formula unit remains significantly below the free-ion
Tb moment. This observation suggests a ferrimagnetic
(anti-parallel) alignment between the Tb and Cr mo-
ments.
The magnetic isotherms at 5 K for the compounds
with R=Dy, Ho, Er are plotted in Fig. 9. As in the
case of TbCr6Ge6, these isotherms show a tendency
towards saturation at low fields already. An interpre-
tation of these curves is, however, more difficult than
in the case of TbCr6Ge6, because no clear indication
of magnetic ordering was obtained for these materials
from the temperature dependence of the magnetization.
10
8
=.
r. 6
4
V
VV~VVVV~ vvTVVvVVv
ErCr6Ge 6
i i
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
(c)
B (T)
Fig. 9. Magnetic isotherms at 5 K for DyCr6Ge 6 (a), HoCr6Ge6
(b) and ErCr6(Je6 (c).
4. Conclusions
As may be inferred from the experimental data,
magnetic ordering is almost absent in the RCr6Ge6
compounds discussed in this paper, with an exception
for
TbCr6Ge6,
where the ordering can easily be influ-
enced by the application of an external magnetic field.
The Cr ions possess a very small magnetic moment,
which is revealed by magnetization measurements on
YCr6Ge 6.
At higher field strengths, the Tb and Cr
moments tend to order in an anti-parallel configuration.
References
value of about 11 K for B=0.1 T to a value close to
30 K at B =5.5 T. It is possible that the
TbCr6Ge 6
compound is also sensitive to field-induced contributions
to the Cr moment, a suggestion mentioned earlier in
connection with the YCr6Ge6 compound. This would
explain the strong applied field dependence of the Curie
temperature.
At higher temperatures, the inverse susceptibility
vs.
temperature for
Tbfr6Ge6
between 5 K and 350 K
shows Curie-Weiss behaviour, indicative of the para-
magnetic state (Fig. 7). The effective moment deduced
from the linear part of Fig. 7 is given in Table 1.
1 G. Venturini, R. Welter and B. Malaman, J.
Alloys Comp.,
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2 F.M. Mulder, R.C. Thiel, J.H.V.J. Brabers, F.R. de Boer and
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3 F.M. Mulder, R.C. Thiel, J.H.V.J. Brabers, F.R. de Boer and
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5 R. Gersdorf, F.R. de Boer, J.C. Wolfrat, F.A. Muller and
L.W. Roeland, in M. Date (ed.),
High-FieldMagnetism,
North-
Holland, Amsterdam, 1983, p. 277.
6 M.W. Dirken, R.C. Thiel, R.C. Coehoorn, T.H. Jacobs and
K.H.J. Buschow,
J. Magn. Magn. Mater., 94
(1991) L15-L19.
7 H.S. Li and J.D.M. Coey, in K.H.J. Buschow (ed.),
Handbook
of Magnetic Materials,
North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1991, p.
26.
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