New Material with each Element Doing its own Thing


A new material made from three elements — yttrium, manganese and gold — woven together in an unusual crystalline lattice shows surprisingly diverse characteristics for each element.  The manganese electrons are localized at the manganese sites, whereas the yttrium and gold electrons are delocalized.  Yttrium in this rhombohedral lattice tends to give up electrons and thus be positively charged whereas the gold prefers to take on electrons.  The magnetic characteristics are also unusual with electron spins strongly aligned only at the manganese sites.  This research is an excellent demonstration of exploratory synthesis and chemical intuition leading to fascinating new materials.  This work adds to our understanding of what stabilizes unusual structures and influence their properties, moving us a step closer to being able to predict what happens when you put any three metallic elements together.


Saroj L. Samal, Abhishek Pandey, David C. Johnston, and John D. Corbett “Y3MnAu5:  Three Distinctive d-Metal Functions in an Intergrown Cluster”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013, 135, 910-917.

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