CuxUTe3: Stabilization of UTe3 in the ZrSe3 structure type via copper insertion. The artifact of Te-Te chains and evidence for distortions due to long range modulations

R. Patschke, J. D. Breshears, P. Brazis, C. R. Kannewurf, S. J.L. Billinge, M. G. Kanatzidis

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The ternary phase, CuxUTe3 (x = 0.25 and 0.33), was synthesized from a 3/1/4 mixture of Cu/U/Te that was heated to 800 °C for 6 days and cooled at a rate of -4 °C h-1. It adopts the monoclinic space group P21/m with a = 6.0838(12) Å, b = 4.2140(8) Å, c = 10.361(2) Å, β = 98.83(3)°, and V = 262.47(9) Å3 (for x ∼ 0.25). The structure is built from UTe3 layers of ZrSe3-type that are connected in the [001] direction by Cu atoms. The Cu atoms stabilize α-UTe3 by inserting between the layers. CuxUTe3 can be prepared rationally via a soft chemistry route by reaction of Cu with α-UTe3. The structural analysis suggests the presence of straight chains of Te atoms (∼3.0 Å apart) along the a-axis but this is an artifact as shown by electron diffraction studies of CuxUTe3 that indicate the existence of a supercell along the a-axis. Pair distribution function analysis (PDF) was used to show that the Te-Te chains contain Te-Te dimers at 2.74 Å. Charge transport measurements suggest a narrow gap semiconductor but they also indicate anomalous behavior as a function of temperature with a n-type to p-type transition at ∼40 K.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4755-4762
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 6 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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