Structure of Mn and Fe oxides and oxyhydroxides: A topological approach by EXAFS
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- Manceau, A. & Combes, J.M. Phys Chem Minerals (1988) 15: 283. doi:10.1007/BF00307518
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The structure of Mn and Fe oxides and oxyhydroxides has been probed by EXAFS. It is shown that EXAFS spectroscopy is sensitive to the nature of interpolyhedral linkages relying on metal-two nearest metal distances. Spectra recorded at 290 K and 30 K indicate that intercationic distances can be determined by EXAFS with a good accuracy (0.02 Å) assuming a purely Gaussian distribution function, even at room temperature. Although the accuracy on atomic numbers determination is fair for these disordered systems, EXAFS can differentiate structures with contrasted edge- over corner-sharing ratio like pyrolusite, ramsdellite, todorokite and lithiophorite or lepidocrocite and goethite. A direct application of this result has shown that the proportion of pyrolusite domains within the lattice of nsutite from Ghana is equal to 35±15 percent. The systematic study of Mn dioxides also put forward the sensitivity of EXAFS to the presence of corner-sharing octahedra, with a detection limit found to be less than 8 percent. In spite of their similar XRD patterns, the EXAFS study of todorokite and asbolane confirms that they possess a distinct structure; that is, a tunnel structure for the former and a layered structure for the second.
Such a topological approach has been used to probe the structure of ferruginous vernadite; a highly disordered iron-bearing Mn oxide. Fe and Mn K-edges EXAFS spectra are very dissimilar, traducing a different short range order. The Mn phase is constituted by MnO2 layers. Its large local structural order contrasts with the short range disorder of the iron phase. This hydrous Fe oxyhydroxide is constituted by face-, edge- and corner-sharing octahedra. This iron phase possesses the same local order as feroxy-hyte, but is long range disordered. The presence of face-sharing Fe(O,OH)6 octahedra prevents its direct solid-state transformation into well crystallized oxyhydroxides, and explains the necessary dissolution-reprecipitation mechanism generally invoked for the hydrous ferric gel → goethite transformation.