Pressure-induced high-spin/low-spin disproportionated state in the Mott insulator FeBO3

Weiming Xu, Weiwei Dong, Samar Layek, Mark Shulman, Konstantin Glazyrin, Elena Bykova, Maxim Bykov, Michael Hanfland, Moshe P. Pasternak, Ivan Leonov, Eran Greenberg, Gregory Kh Rozenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pressure-induced Mott insulator-to-metal transitions are often accompanied by a collapse of magnetic interactions associated with delocalization of 3d electrons and high-spin to low-spin (HS-LS) state transition. Here, we address a long-standing controversy regarding the high-pressure behavior of an archetypal Mott insulator FeBO3 and show the insufficiency of a standard theoretical approach assuming a conventional HS-LS transition for the description of the electronic properties of the Mott insulators at high pressures. Using high-resolution x-ray diffraction measurements supplemented by Mössbauer spectroscopy up to pressures ~ 150 GPa, we document an unusual electronic state characterized by a “mixed” HS/LS state with a stable abundance ratio realized in the R3 ¯ c crystal structure with a single Fe site within a wide pressure range of ~ 50–106 GPa. Our results imply an unconventional cooperative (and probably dynamical) nature of the ordering of the HS/LS Fe sites randomly distributed over the lattice, resulting in frustration of magnetic moments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9647
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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