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The atomic arrangement and electronic interactions in vonsenite at 295, 100, and 90 K

Maderazzo, Marc and Hughes, John M. and Dyar, M. Darby and Rossman, George R. and Ackley, Brandon J. and Sklute, Elizabeth C. and Lupulescu, Marian V. and Chiarenzelli, Jeffrey (2022) The atomic arrangement and electronic interactions in vonsenite at 295, 100, and 90 K. American Mineralogist, 107 (1). pp. 92-99. ISSN 0003-004X. doi:10.2138/am-2021-7851.

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Vonsenite, Fe₂²⁺Fe³⁺O2BO₃, has been the subject of many studies in the materials science and condensed matter physics communities due to interest in the electronic and magnetic properties and ordering behavior of the phase. One such study, undertaken on synthetic material of end-member composition, reports X-ray diffraction structure refinements that indicate a phase transition from Pbam to Pbnm at or just below ~283 K, determined subsequently to arise from a Peierls-like instability. To compare the stability of the natural phase with that of synthetic material, we performed high-precision X-ray crystal-structure analyses at 295, 100, and 90 K (R₁ = 0.0119, 0.0186, and 0.0183, respectively), Mössbauer spectroscopy at 295, 220, 150, 80, and 4.2 K, and wavelength-dispersive electron microprobe analysis on a vonsenite of near-end-member composition from Jayville, New York, U.S.A. The Pbnm structure is observed at 100 and 90 K, suggesting similar phase stability for the natural and synthetic phases. Comparison of Mössbauer data and X-ray site occupancies between the natural and synthetic phases suggests a reinterpretation of Mössbauer site assignments. We conclude that the Peierls-like instability underlying the reported transition from Pbam to Pbnm in synthetic material also occurs in our specimen of natural near-end-member vonsenite at temperatures between 295 and 100 K.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemCIF and Online Material
Dyar, M. Darby0000-0003-4272-793X
Rossman, George R.0000-0002-4571-6884
Chiarenzelli, Jeffrey0000-0001-9925-6935
Additional Information:© 2022 Mineralogical Society of America. Manuscript received October 12, 2020. Manuscript accepted January 21, 2021. Manuscript handled by Aaron J. Lussier. Edward Bonner worked on early structure refinements of vonsenite. M.M. expresses deep gratitude for the privilege of having been a student of Charles T. Prewitt and the late Roger G. Burns. Consummate experimentalists, visionary thinkers, mentors at once thoughtful and demanding, Charlie and Roger are lions of mineralogy, central to the evolution and transformation of the discipline from its descriptive origins to a quantitative science with a nascent capacity for prediction: from what, to how and why. The manuscript was improved by reviews by two anonymous reviewers and a Technical Reviewer, and expertly handled by Associate Editor Aaron Lussier, for which we are very appreciative; thanks are also due to the American Mineralogist Technical Editor team for a discussion of detection of the superstructure in an early manuscript version. Support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation through Grant NSF-MRI 1039436 to J.M.H. Deposit item AM-22-17851, Online Materials. Deposit items are free to all readers and found on the MSA website, via the specific issue’s Table of Contents (go to The CIF has been peer reviewed by our Technical Editors.
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Subject Keywords:Vonsenite, phase transition, low-temperature structure refinements, Peierls-like instability
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220114-12602000
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Official Citation:Marc Maderazzo, John M. Hughes, M. Darby Dyar, George R. Rossman, Brandon J. Ackley, Elizabeth C. Sklute, Marian V. Lupulescu, Jeffrey Chiarenzelli; The atomic arrangement and electronic interactions in vonsenite at 295, 100, and 90 K. American Mineralogist 2022; 107 (1): 92–99. doi:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:112922
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:18 Jan 2022 15:41
Last Modified:18 Jan 2022 15:41

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