Structure of molten lanthanum and cerium tri-halides by the method of isomorphic substitution in neutron diffraction

Jonathan C. Wasse, Philip S. Salmon

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The total structure factors of the molten trivalent metal halides MX3, where M3+ denotes La3+ or Ce3+ and X- denotes Cl-, Br- or I-, have been measured by using neutron diffraction. Difference function methods were then applied on assuming that the LaX3 and CeX3 melts for a given halide ion are isomorphic. The results which follow from this assumption show that the first sharp diffraction peak in the measured total structure factors arises from cation correlations and its movement to lower scattering vector values with increasing anion size is consistent with an enhanced separation in real space of cation centred polyhedra. On melting the MX3 salts exhibit a decrease in the coordination number of both the cations and anions. In the liquid state the M-X coordination environment is asymmetric with M-Cl, M-Br and M-I nearest-neighbour distances of 2.93(2) Å, 3.01(2) Å, 3.18(2) Å and M-Cl, M-Br and M-I coordination numbers of 8.2(2), 7.4(2), 6.7(2) respectively. The Cl-Cl, Br-Br and I-I nearest-neighbour distances are 3.58(3) Å, 3.76(3) Å, 4.13(2) Å respectively and there is a significant penetration of the X-X partial pair distribution function into the first peak of the M-X partial pair distribution function for all three anions. The Cl-Cl, Br-Br and I-I coordination numbers are 9.2(2), 8.7(2) and 8.2(2) respectively if the M-M coordination number is two.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1396
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number2-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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