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Title: Cerium Substitution in Yttrium Iron Garnet: Valence State, Structure, and Energetics

The garnet structure is a promising nuclear waste form because it can accommodate various actinide elements. Y3Fe5O12 (YIG) is a model composition for such substitutions. Since cerium (Ce) can be considered an analogue of actinide elements such as thorium (Th), plutonium (Pu), and uranium (U), studying the local structure and thermodynamic stability of Ce-substituted YIG (Ce:YIG) can provide insights into the structural and energetic aspects of large ion substitution in garnets. Single phases of yttrium iron garnet with Ce substitution up to 20 mol % (Y3-xCexFe5O12 with 0 ≤ x ≤ 0.2) were synthesized through a citrate-nitrate combustion method. The oxidation state of cerium was examined by X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy (XANES); the oxidation state and site occupancy of Fe as a function of Ce loading also was monitored by 57Fe-Mössbauer spectroscopy. These measurements establish that Ce is predominantly in the trivalent state at low substitution levels, while a mixture of trivalent and tetravalent states are observed at higher concentrations. Fe was predominately trivalent and exists in multiple environments. High temperature oxide melt solution calorimetry was used to determine the enthalpy of formation of these Ce-substituted YIG garnets. The thermodynamic analysis demonstrated that, although there is an entropicmore » driving force for the substitution of Ce for Y, the substitution reaction is enthalpically unfavorable. The experimental results are complemented by electronic structure calculations performed within the framework of density functional theory (DFT) with Hubbard-U corrections, which reproduce the observed increase in the tendency for tetravalent Ce to be present with higher loading of Ce. The DFT+U results suggest that the energetics underlying the formation of tetravalent Ce involves a competition between an unfavorable energy to oxidize Ce and reduce Fe, and a favorable contribution due to strain-energy reduction. The structural and thermodynamic findings suggest a strategy to design thermodynamically-favorable substitutions of actinides in the garnet system.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
47781; KP1704020
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Chemistry of Materials, 26(2):1133-1143
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory