A di?erent look at the spin state of Co3+ ions in CoO5 pyramidal coordination
Z. Hu,1 Hua Wu,2 M. W. Haverkort,1 H. H. Hsieh,3 H. -J. Lin,3 T. Lorenz,1 J. Baier,1 A. Reichl,1 I. Bonn,4 C. Felser,4 A. Tanaka,5 C. T. Chen,3 and L. H. Tjeng1, ?
1 II. Physikalisches Institut, Universit¨t zu K¨ln, Z¨lpicher Str. 77, 50937 K¨ln, Germany a o u o Max-Planck-Institut f¨r Physik komplexer Systeme, N¨thnitzer Str. 38, 01187 Dresden, Germany u o 3 National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center, 101 Hsin-Ann Rd., Hsinchu 30077, Taiwan 4 Johannes Gutenberg-Universit¨t Mainz, Becher Wege 24, 55099 Mainz, Germany a 5 Department of Quantum Matters, ADSM, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8530, Japan (Dated: February 2, 2008) 2
arXiv:cond-mat/0310138v1 [cond-mat.str-el] 7 Oct 2003
Using soft-x-ray absorption spectroscopy at the Co-L2,3 and O-K edges, we demonstrate that the Co3+ ions with the CoO5 pyramidal coordination in the layered Sr2 CoO3 Cl compound are unambiguously in the high spin state. Our result questions the reliability of the spin state assignments made so far for the recently synthesized layered cobalt perovskites, and calls for a re-examination of the modeling for the complex and fascinating properties of these new materials.
PACS numbers: 78.70.Dm, 71.20.-b, 71.28.+d, 75.47.-m
The class of cobalt-oxide based materials has attracted considerable interest in the last decade because of expectations that spectacular properties may be found similar to those in the manganites and cuprates. Indeed, giant magneto resistance e?ects have been observed in the La1?x Ax CoO3 (A=Ca,Sr,Ba) perovskites  and RBaCo2 O5+x (R=Eu,Gd) layered perovskites [2, 3]. Very recently, also superconductivity has been found in the Nax CoO2 .yH2 O material . In fact, numerous one-, two-, and three-dimensional cobalt oxide materials have been synthesized or rediscovered in the last 5 years, with properties that include metal-insulator and ferro-ferri-antiferro-magnetic transitions with various forms of charge, orbital and spin ordering [5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22]. A key aspect of cobalt oxides that distinguish them clearly from the manganese and copper materials, is the spin state degree of freedom of the Co3+/III ions: it can be low spin (LS, S=0), high spin (HS, S=2) and even intermediate spin (IS, S=1) . This aspect comes on top of the orbital, spin (up/down) and charge degrees of freedom that already make the manganite and cuprate systems so exciting. It is, however, also precisely this aspect that causes considerable debate in the literature. For the classic LaCoO3 compound, for instance, various early studies attributed the low temperature spin state change to be of LS-HS nature , while studies in the last decade put a lot of e?ort to propose a LS-IS scenario instead [25, 26]. More topical, confusion has arisen about the Co spin state in the newly synthesized layered cobalt perovskites [2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22]. In fact, all possible spin states have been claimed for each of the di?erent Co sites present. There is even no consensus in the predictions from band structure calculations [27, 28, 29]. In this manuscript we are questioning the reliability of the spin states as obtained from magnetic, neutron and x-ray di?raction measurements for the newly
synthesized layered cobalt perovskites [2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22]. We carried out a test experiment using a relatively simple model compound, namely Sr2 CoO3 Cl, in which there are no spin state transitions present and in which there is only one kind of Co3+ ion coordination . Important is that this coordination is identical to the pyramidal CoO5 present in the heavily debated layered perovskites [2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22]. Using a spectroscopic tool, that is soft x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), we demonstrate that pyramidal Co3+ ions are not in the often claimed IS state but unambiguously in a HS state. This outcome suggests that the spin states and their temperature dependence in layered cobalt perovskites may be rather di?erent in nature from those proposed in the recent literature. Bulk polycrystalline samples of Sr2 CoO3 Cl were prepared by a solid state reaction route . The magnetic susceptibility is measured to be very similar to the one reported by Loureiro et al. . We ?nd that up to 600 K the susceptibility does not follow a Curie-Weiss behavior, making a simple determination of the spin state impossible. Spectroscopic measurements were carried out using soft x-rays in the vicinity of the Co-L2,3 (hν ≈ 780800 eV) and O-K (hν ≈ 528-535 eV) absorption edges. The experiments were performed at the Dragon beamline at the NSRRC in Taiwan, with a photon energy resolution of about 0.30 eV and 0.15 eV, respectively. Clean sample surfaces were obtained by scraping in-situ with a diamond ?le, in an ultra-high vacuum chamber with a pressure in the low 10?9 mbar range. The Co-L2,3 XAS spectra were recorded in the total electron yield mode by measuring the sample drain current, and the O-K XAS spectra by collecting the ?uorescence yield to minimize background signal and maximize bulk sensitivity. A single crystal of EuCoO3 is included as an unambiguous reference for a LS CoIII system .
710 Fe-L3 715 720 725
tensity at the L3 and more at the L2 , characteristic for a spin state di?erence [36, 37, 38, 39]. Fig. 2 thus demonstrates that Sr2 CoO3 Cl is de?nitely not a LS system.
785 790 Photon Energy (eV)
FIG. 1: Co-L2,3 XAS spectrum of Sr2 CoO3 Cl measured at 300 K (?) and Fe-L2,3 XAS spectrum of FeO reproduced from Ref. 40 (solid line).
Fig. 1 shows the Co-L2,3 XAS spectrum of Sr2 CoO3 Cl taken at room temperature. It is dominated by the Co 2p core-hole spin-orbit coupling which splits the spectrum roughly in two parts, namely the L3 (hν ≈ 780 eV) and L2 (hν ≈ 796 eV) white lines regions. The line shape of the spectrum depends strongly on the multiplet structure given by the Co 3d-3d and 2p-3d Coulomb and exchange interactions, as well as by the local crystal ?elds and the hybridization with the O 2p ligands. Unique to soft x-ray absorption is that the dipole selection rules are very e?ective in determining which of the 2p5 3dn+1 ?nal states can be reached and with what intensity, starting from a particular 2p6 3dn initial state (n=6 for Co3+ ) [31, 32]. This makes the technique extremely sensitive to the symmetry of the initial state, i.e. the valence , orbital [34, 35] and spin [36, 37, 38, 39] state of the ion. Utilizing this sensitivity, we compare the Co-L2,3 XAS spectrum of Sr2 CoO3 Cl to that of another 3d6 compound, namely FeO, reproduced from the thesis of J.H. Park . This spectrum was taken at room temperature. Except for the di?erent photon energy scale and the smaller 2p core-hole spin-orbit splitting, the FeO spectrum as shown in Fig. 1 is essentially identical with that of Sr2 CoO3 Cl. From this we can immediately conclude that the Co3+ ions in Sr2 CoO3 Cl are in the HS state, since the Fe2+ ions are also unambiguously HS. To ?nd further support for our conclusion, we also compare the Co-L2,3 XAS spectrum of Sr2 CoO3 Cl with that of EuCoO3 , which is known to be a LS system . From Fig. 2 one now can clearly see large discrepancies between the spectra of the two compounds. Not only are the line shapes di?erent, but also the ratios of the integrated intensities of the L3 and L2 regions: in comparison with Sr2 CoO3 Cl, the LS EuCoO3 has relatively less in-
theory LS 775 780 785 790 795 800
Photon Energy (eV)
FIG. 2: (a) Co-L2,3 XAS spectra of Sr2 CoO3 Cl (?) and EuCoO3 (?); (b) Comparison between the Sr2 CoO3 Cl spectrum (?) with a theoretical simulation for a high-spin (HS) CoO5 pyramidal cluster (solid line); (c) Comparison between the EuCoO3 spectrum (?) with a theoretical simulation for a low-spin (LS) CoO6 octahedral cluster (solid line).
It would have made our case even easier to prove, if we could have excluded experimentally the IS scenario for Sr2 CoO3 Cl by comparing the spectrum to that of a known Co3+ IS reference system. However, there is to date no consensus for such an oxide reference system. Nevertheless, the spin state can also be deduced from theoretical simulations of the experimental spectra. To this end, we use the successful con?guration interaction cluster model that includes the full atomic multiplet theory and the hybridization with the O 2p ligands [31, 32, 41]. We have carried out the calculations for a Co3+ ion in the CoO5 pyramidal cluster as present in Sr2 CoO3 Cl and for the ion in the CoO6 octahedral cluster found in EuCoO3 . We use parameter values typical for a Co3+ system . The Co 3d to O 2p transfer integrals are adapted for the various Co-O bond lengths according to Harrison’s prescription [42, 43]. This together with the crystal ?eld parameters determines whether the Co3+ ion is in the
3 HS or LS state . The results are shown in Fig. 2 and one can clearly see that the calculated spectrum of the HS pyramidal CoO5 cluster reproduces very well the experimental Sr2 CoO3 Cl spectrum, and that the calculated LS octahedral CoO6 spectrum matches nicely the experimental EuCoO3 spectrum. This demonstrates that our spectroscopic assignments are ?rmly founded. sity approximation with correction for electron correlation e?ects (LDA+U) . We ?nd the ground state of the system to be an antiferromagnetic insulator with a band gap of 1.3 eV and a magnetic moment of 3.2 ?B . Although less than 4?B , this indicates that the Co is in the HS state since in an antiferromagnet the moment is reduced due to covalency. The calculated unoccupied O 2p partial density of states (DOS) are depicted in Fig. 3, and good agreement with the experimental spectrum can be observed. It is now interesting to look with more detail into the character of the states relevant for the O K XAS spectra. For the LS EuCoO3 with the 3d t6 con?guration, 2g the lowest energy structure in the spectrum at about 529.5 eV is due to transitions into the unoccupied Co 3d eg states. The fact that Sr2 CoO3 Cl has a lower energy structure thus indicates that transitions to the lower lying t2g are allowed, i.e. that the t2g states are not fully occupied. In other words, Sr2 CoO3 Cl is in the HS t4 e2 2g g or IS t5 e1 state. At ?rst sight, one might then expect a 2g g much larger spectral weight for the higher lying eg level, since the hybridization with the O 2p is larger for the eg than for the t2g . However, our LDA+U calculations in which we ?nd the HS ground state, indicate that, because of the missing apical oxygen in the CoO5 coordination, the unoccupied 3z 2 -r2 level is pulled down by 1.6 eV from the x2 -y 2 , and comes close to the unoccupied t2 . 2g Moreover, because of the large displacement (0.33 ?) of A the Co ion out of the O4 basal plane of the pyramid , the hybridization of the x2 -y 2 with the O 2p ligands is strongly reduced. Therefore, the dominant lower energy structure at 528.3 eV consists of the unoccupied minority t2 (dashed line in Fig. 3) and minority 3z 2 -r2 (dashed 2g dotted line) levels, and the shoulder at 530.4 eV of the minority x2 -y 2 (dotted line). From the LDA+U calculations, we have found that the IS state  is unstable with respect to HS ground state for the real crystal structure of Sr2 CoO3 Cl. We have also found nevertheless, that the IS state can be stabilized by arti?cially moving the Co ion into the O4 basal plane of the CoO5 pyramid. For the latter, however, the calculated unoccupied O 2p partial DOS does not reproduce the experimental O-K XAS spectrum that well, as one can see from the discrepancies in the 531-532 eV range in Fig. 3. What happens is that the x2 -y 2 level is pushed up by the increased hybridization with the O 2p ligands, since the Co ion is within the O4 basal plane in this arti?cial crystal structure. Moreover, the up-rising majority x2 -y 2 becomes unoccupied, resulting in the IS state. Apparently, the actual large base corrugation of the CoO5 pyramid helps to stabilize the HS state , a trend that should not be overlooked if one is to understand the real spin state of CoO5 pyramids. We ?nd from our LDA+U calculations that the HS is more stable than the IS for out-of-basal-plane Co displacements larger than a critical value of about 0.15 ?. A
O 1s XAS
50 K 300 K
Intensity (arb. units)
78 K 400 K
528 530 532 Photon Energy (eV)
FIG. 3: O-K XAS spectra of Sr2 CoO3 Cl taken at 78 K (?) and 400 K (?), and of EuCoO3 at 50 K (?) and 300 K (?). The solid lines below the experimental curves depict the LDA+U calculated unoccupied O 2p partial DOS for Sr2 CoO3 Cl in the real crystal structure with the HS state (upper) and in the arti?cial structure with the IS state (lower). The dashed, dashed-dotted, and dotted lines are the t2 , 3z 2 -r 2 , and x2 -y 2 2g projections, respectively.
More spectroscopic evidence for the HS nature of the Co3+ in the pyramidal CoO5 coordination can be found from the O K XAS spectrum as shown in Fig. 3. The structures from 528 to 533 eV are due to transitions from the O 1s core level to the O 2p orbitals that are mixed into the unoccupied Co 3d t2g and eg states. The broad structures above 533 eV are due to Sr 4d, Co 4s and Cl 3p related bands. For comparison, Fig. 3 also includes the spectrum of the LS EuCoO3, and clear di?erences can be seen in the line shapes and energy positions of the Co 3d - O 2p derived states. This again is indicative that Sr2 CoO3 Cl is not a LS system. To interpret the spectra, we also have carried out full-potential band structure calculations  for Sr2 CoO3 Cl in the local den-
4 Having established that the pyramidal coordinated Co3+ ions in Sr2 CoO3 Cl are in the HS state, we now turn our attention to other layered cobalt materials that have the same structural units. Neutron di?raction experiments on RBaCo2O5.0 (R = rare earth) have revealed the existence of alternating Co2+ and Co3+ ions, both in pyramidal CoO5 coordination. The magnetic structure is G-type antiferro with moments of 2.7 and 4.2 ?B , or 2.7 and 3.7 ?B , respectively [12, 13]. For the R=Nd compound, charge ordering was not observed, but an average moment of 3.5 ?B was measured [14, 15]. These studies suggested two possible scenarios for the Co3+ ions, namely either HS with spin-only moments or IS with orbital moment. Our ?ndings based on Sr2 CoO3 Cl on the other hand, strongly suggest the HS state of such pyramidal Co3+ ions. Here we keep in mind that the out-ofplane Co displacements of the pyramids in RBaCo2 O5.0 are larger than 0.35 ? [11, 13, 14], i.e. much larger than A the above mentioned 0.15 ? critical value. The ?rst A scenario is thus favored, with the remark that neutron di?raction techniques tend to observe smaller magnetic moments due to the Co-O covalency, which is responsible for the antiferromagnetic superexchange interactions present in these materials. The experimental situation for the RBaCo2 O5.5 system is more complicated. Neutron and x-ray di?raction measurements indicate the presence of all Co3+ ions in alternating pyramidal CoO5 and octahedral CoO6 units [14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22]. The magnetic structure is most likely not a simple G-type [20, 21], and depending on the model, values between 0.7 and 2.0 ?B have been extracted for the pyramidal Co3+ [20, 22]. The IS state is thus proposed, and in fact most other studies also assumes this starting point [14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21]. Nevertheless, structural data indicate that the CoO5 pyramids in these compounds have very similar Co-O bond lengths and angles as in Sr2 CoO3 Cl. The out-of-plane Co3+ displacements in the pyramids are larger than 0.3 ? [14, 17, 18, 19], and again, much larger than the 0.15 A ? critical value. We therefore infer that also in these A compounds the pyramidal Co3+ must be HS, which is supported by the observation that the e?ective magnetic moment as extracted from the high temperature CurieWeiss behavior indicates a HS state for all Co3+ [2, 3, 16]. In fact, the average Co-O bond length for the CoO5 pyramids even increases at lower temperatures [18, 19], thereby stabilizing the HS state even more. The fact that neutron di?raction detects lower moments may indicate a complex magnetic structure as a result of a delicately balanced spin state of the octahedral Co3+ ions a?ecting the various exchange interactions in the compounds in which the pyramidal Co3+ remains HS. Summarizing, we have found an overwhelming amount of evidence for the HS nature of the pyramidal coordinated Co3+ ions in Sr2 CoO3 Cl: (1) the Co L2,3 spectrum has essentially an identical line shape as the Fe L2,3 in FeO; (2) the Co L2,3 spectrum can be reproduced to a great detail by model calculations with the Co ion in the HS state; (3) the O K spectrum can be well explained by LDA+U calculations with the Co in the HS state, but not with the Co in the IS state; and (4) LDA+U calculations yield the HS ground state and no stable IS state for the real crystal structure. With other newly synthesized layered cobalt oxides having very similar pyramidal CoO5 units, we infer that those Co3+ ions must also be in the HS state, contradicting the assignments made so far. It is highly desirable to investigate the consequences for the modeling of the properties of these new materials. We would like to thank Lucie Hamdan for her skillful technical and organizational assistance in preparing the experiment, and Daniel Khomskii for stimulating discussions. The research in K¨ln is supported by the Deutsche o Forschungsgemeinschaft through SFB 608.
                      
       
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