• EXAFS;
  • thermoelectric;
  • defects


We present an extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) study of the NdOs4Sb12 system at the Nd and Os LIII edges. Nd is expected to be a “rattler” atom in this skutterudite crystal and we obtain a low Einstein temperature (61 K) as expected. However, although ultrasonic measurements have suggested a large off-center displacement of Nd, the EXAFS data are inconsistent with such a model. An analysis of the first two Os-Sb peaks in the Os LIII data also shows no evidence for unusual disorder.

In contrast the Nd-Os peak in the Nd LIII data and the Os-Os peak in the Os LIII data both show significant disorder at 4 K, with the largest disorder found for the Nd-Os pair. This suggests that a distortion of the structure that involves mainly the Os atoms is present; it is likely that this distortion - which may also be dynamic - also causes the anomalies in the ultrasonic data (© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)