Structural, magnetic and electrical properties of the hexagonal ferrites MFeO3 (M=Y, Yb, In)

Lewis J. Downie, Richard J. Goff, Winfried Kockelmann, Sue D. Forder, Julia E. Parker, Finlay D. Morrison, Philip Lightfoot

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The hexagonal ferrites MFeO3 (M=Y, Yb, In) have been studied using a combination of neutron and X-ray powder diffraction, magnetic susceptibility, dielectric measurements and 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy. This study confirms the previously reported crystal structure of InFeO3 (YAlO3 structure type, space group P63/mmc), but YFeO3 and YbFeO3 both show a lowering of symmetry to at most P63cm (ferrielectric YMnO3 structure type). However, Mössbauer spectroscopy shows at least two distinct Fe sites for both YFeO3 and YbFeO3 and we suggest that the best model to rationalise this involves phase separation into more than one similar hexagonal YMnO3-like phase. Rietveld analysis of the neutron diffraction data was carried out using two hexagonal phases as a simplest case scenario. In both YFeO3 and YbFeO3, distinct dielectric anomalies are observed near 130 K and 150 K, respectively. These are tentatively correlated with weak anomalies in magnetic susceptibility and lattice parameters, for YFeO3 and YbFeO3, respectively, which may suggest a weak magnetoelectric effect. Comparison of neutron and X-ray powder diffraction shows evidence of long-range magnetic order in both YFeO3 and YbFeO3 at low temperatures. Due to poor sample crystallinity, the compositional and structural effects underlying the phase separation and possible magnetoelectric phenomena cannot be ascertained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-60
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Solid State Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Hexagonal YFeO3
  • Multiferroic
  • Magnetoelectric
  • Phase separation


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