Synthesis and Characterization of Samarium Nitride in Sodium Beta-Alumina Derivatives

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samarium nitride (SmN) is an important rare earth element. It is found in many minerals and is the 40th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. It is most abundant in samarskite, cerite, gadolinite, monazite and bastnasite.

Samarium has a high Curie temperature and is used in permanent magnets, X-ray lasers and atomic clocks. It is also used in nuclear reactor control rods and a drug called lexidronam, which kills cancer cells.

SmN shows a semiconducting behaviour at low temperatures and has a band gap of 0.7 eV, similar to EuO. This makes it useful in spin filter devices.

Synthesis and Characterization of SmN in Sodium Beta-Alumina Derivatives

samarium nitride can be synthesized by nitration of solid lanthanum and samarium specimens with nitrogen and ammonia streams at temperatures close to Tm of the metals. In order to obtain pure nitrides of the elements, optimum synthesis conditions are required.

Using the tight binding linear muffin-tin-orbital method within the local density approximation (LDA), structural and electronic properties of samarium nitride were calculated at ambient and high pressure. These include the lattice parameter, bulk modulus and band structure of this compound.

The lattice dynamics of samarium is investigated by in situ low-temperature nuclear inelastic scattering on single crystalline (0001)Sm and polycrystalline Sm foils, and by first-principles theory. The effect of the Sm atom spin-orbit coupling on the lattice dynamics is also analyzed.

The results show that the dhcp unit cell of Sm has a more pronounced vibrational anisotropy than the Sm-type lattice. The dhcp unit cell also exhibits more pronounced vibrational dispersion and phonon density of states than the Sm-type structure.