Magnetic properties of monoclinic lanthanide orthoborates, LnBO<inf>3</inf>, Ln = Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Yb

27 Jun 2018

The lanthanide orthoborates, $Ln$BO$_3$, $Ln$ = Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Yb crystallise in a monoclinic structure with the magnetic $Ln^{3+}$ forming an edge-sharing triangular lattice. The triangles are scalene, however all deviations from the ideal equilateral geometry are less than 1.5%. The bulk magnetic properties are studied using magnetic susceptibility, specific heat and isothermal magnetisation measurements. Heat capacity measurements show ordering features at $T \leq$ 2 K for $Ln$ = Gd, Tb, Dy, Er. No ordering is observed for YbBO$_3$ at $T \geq$ 0.4 K and HoBO$_3$ is proposed to have a non-magnetic singlet state. Isothermal magnetisation measurements indicate isotropic Gd$^{3+}$ spins and strong single-ion anisotropy for the other $Ln^{3+}$. The change in magnetic entropy has been evaluated to determine the magnetocaloric effect in these materials. GdBO$_3$ and DyBO$_3$ are found to be competitive magnetocaloric materials in the liquid helium temperature regime.