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Keywords:

  • perovskites;
  • thermal expansion;
  • phase transitions;
  • order;
  • bond-valence method

Crystal structures are reported for two perovskite-related compounds with nominal compositions La5(Ti0.8Fe0.2)5O17 and La6(Ti0.67Fe0.33)6O20 at seven different temperatures between 90 and 350 K. For both compounds no evidence of a structural phase transition in the investigated range of temperatures was found. The thermal expansions are found to be anisotropic, with the largest thermal expansion along a direction parallel to the slabs of these layered compounds. The origin of this anisotropy is proposed to be a temperature dependence of tilts of the octahedral (Ti,Fe)O6 groups. It is likely that the same mechanism will determine similar anisotropic thermal behaviour of other compounds AnBnO3n + 2. The crystal structures have revealed partial chemical order of Ti/Fe over the B sites, with iron concentrated towards the centers of the slabs. Local charge compensation is proposed as the driving force for the chemical order, where the highest-valent cation moves to sites near the oxygen-rich borders of the slabs. A linear dependence on the site occupation fraction by Fe of the computed valences leads to extrapolated valence values close to the formal valence of Ti4+ for sites fully occupied by Ti, and of Fe3+ for sites fully occupied by Fe. These results demonstrate the power of the bond-valence method, and they show that refined oxygen positions are the weighted average of oxygen positions in TiO6 and FeO6 octahedral groups.