Magnetic properties of nanocrystalline LaCoO3 with particle size of 25, 30, 32, and 38 nm, prepared by the citrate method, were investigated in temperature range 2-320 K, magnetic field up to 50 kOe, and under hydrostatic pressure up to 11 kbar. All nanoparticles exhibit weak ferromagnetism below TC 85K, in agreement with recent observation on LaCoO3 particles and tensile thin films. It was found that with decreasing particle size, i.e., with increasing the surface to volume ratio, the unit-cell volume increases monotonically due to the surface effect. The ferromagnetic moment increases as well, simultaneously with lattice expansion, whereas TC remains nearly unchanged. On the other hand, an applied hydrostatic pressure suppresses strongly the ferromagnetic phase leading to its full disappearance at 10 kbar, while the TC does not change visibly under pressure. It appears that the ferromagnetism in LaCoO3 nanoparticles is controlled by the unit-cell volume. This clear correlation suggests that the nature of ferromagnetic ground state of LaCoO3 is likely related to orbitally ordered Jahn-Teller active Co3+ ions with intermediate-spin (IS) state, which may persist in the expanded lattice at low temperatures. A robust orbital order presumed among the IS Co3+ species can explain the very stable TC observed for LaCoO3 samples prepared under different conditions: single crystal powders, nanoparticles, and thin films.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - 13 Jun 2008|