Exploring cation disorder in mixed-metal pyrochlore ceramics using 17O NMR spectroscopy and first-principles calculations
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Characterising the local structures (e.g., the cation distribution) of mixed-metal ceramics by NMR spectroscopy is often challenging owing to the unfavourable properties (low γ, large quadrupole moment and/or low abundance) of many metal nuclei. 17O is an attractive option owing to the prevalence of oxygen within ceramics. The moderate γ and small quadrupole moment of 17O mean that the greatest barrier to accessing the information available from this nucleus is isotopic enrichment. We explore the challenges of ensuring uniform isotopic enrichment with 17O2(g) for the pyrochlore solid solutions, Y2SnxTi2–xO7, La2SnxZr2–xO7 and La2SnxHf2–xO7, demonstrating that high enrichment temperatures (900 °C for 12 h) are required. In addition, for sites with very high symmetry (such as the tetrahedral OY4 and OLa4 sites with CQ ≈ 0 present here), we demonstrate that quantitative 17O NMR spectra require correction for the differing contributions from the centreband of the satellite transitions, which can be as high as a factor of ~3.89. It is common to use first-principles calculations to aid in interpreting NMR spectra of disordered solids. Here, we use an ensemble modelling approach to ensure that all possible cation arrangements are modelled in the minimum possible number of calculations. By combining uniform isotopic enrichment, quantitative NMR spectroscopy and a comprehensive computational approach, we are able to show that the cation distribution in Y2SnxTi2–xO7 is essentially random, whereas in La2SnxZr2–xO7 and La2SnxHf2–xO7, OLa2SnZr and OLa2SnHf sites are slightly energetically disfavoured, leading to a weak preference for clustering of like cations.
Fernandes , A , Moran , R F , McKay , D , Griffiths , B , Herlihy , A , Whittle , K R , Dawson , D M & Ashbrook , S E 2021 , ' Exploring cation disorder in mixed-metal pyrochlore ceramics using 17 O NMR spectroscopy and first-principles calculations ' , Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry , vol. 59 , no. 9-10 . https://doi.org/10.1002/mrc.5140
Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry
Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.