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Structural, electronic, and magnetic characteristics of Np_2Co_(17)

American Physical Society
Publication Date
  • Physics


A previously unknown neptunium-transition-metal binary compound Np_2Co_(17) has been synthesized and characterized by means of powder x-ray diffraction, ^(237)Np Mössbauer spectroscopy, superconducting-quantum-interference-device magnetometry, and x-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD). The compound crystallizes in a Th_2Ni_(17)-type hexagonal structure with room-temperature lattice parameters α=8.3107(1) Å and c=8.1058(1) Å. Magnetization curves indicate the occurrence of ferromagnetic order below T_C>350 K. Mössbauer spectra suggest a Np^(3+) oxidation state and give an ordered moment of μ_(Np)=1.57(4) μ_B and μ_(Np)=1.63(4) μ_B for the Np atoms located, respectively, at the 2b and 2d crystallographic positions of the P6_3/mmc space group. Combining these values with a sum-rule analysis of the XMCD spectra measured at the neptunium M_(4,5) absorption edges, one obtains the spin and orbital contributions to the site-averaged Np moment [μ_S=−1.88(9) μ_B, μ_L=3.48(9) μ_B]. The ratio between the expectation value of the magnetic-dipole moment and the spin magnetic moment (m_(md)/μS=+1.36) is positive as predicted for localized 5f electrons and lies between the values calculated in intermediate-coupling (IC) and jj approximations. The expectation value of the angular part of the spin-orbit-interaction operator is in excellent agreement with the IC estimate. The ordered moment averaged over the four inequivalent Co sites, as obtained from the saturation value of the magnetization, is μ_(Co)≃1.6 μ_B. The experimental results are discussed against the predictions of first-principles electronic-structure calculations based on the spin-polarized local-spin-density approximation plus the Hubbard interaction.

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