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Study on the relation between the crystal structure and thermal stability of FeUO$$_{4}$$ and CrUO$$_{4}$$

Akiyama, Daisuke*; Kusaka, Ryoji  ; Kumagai, Yuta   ; Nakada, Masami  ; Watanabe, Masayuki   ; Okamoto, Yoshihiro  ; Nagai, Takayuki  ; Sato, Nobuaki*; Kirishima, Akira*

FeUO$$_{4}$$, CrUO$$_{4}$$, and Fe$$_{x}$$Cr$$_{1-x}$$UO$$_{4}$$ are monouranates containing pentavalent U. Even though these compounds have similar crystal structures, their formation conditions and thermal stability are significantly different. To determine the factors causing the difference in thermal stability between FeUO$$_{4}$$ and CrUO$$_{4}$$, their crystal structures were evaluated in detail. A Raman band was observed at 700 cm$$^{-1}$$ in all the samples. This Raman band was derived from the stretching vibration of the O-U-O axis band, indicating that Fe$$_{x}$$Cr$$_{1-x}$$UO$$_{4}$$ was composed of a uranyl-like structure in its lattice regardless of its "x"' value. M$"o$ssbauer measurements indicated that the Fe in FeUO$$_{4}$$ and Fe$$_{x}$$Cr$$_{1-x}$$UO$$_{4}$$ were trivalent. Furthermore, Fe$$_{x}$$Cr$$_{1-x}$$UO$$_{4}$$ lost its symmetry around Fe$$^{mathrm{III}}$$ with increasing electron densities around Fe$$^{mathrm{III}}$$, as the abundance of Cr increased. These results suggested no significant structural differences between FeUO$$_{4}$$ and CrUO$$_{4}$$. Thermogravimetric measurements for UO$$_{2}$$, FeUO$$_{4}$$, and CrUO$$_{4}$$ showed that the temperature at which FeUO$$_{4}$$ decomposed under an oxidizing condition (approximately 800 $$^{circ}$$C) was significantly lower than the temperature at which the decomposition of CrUO$$_{4}$$ started (approximately 1250 $$^{circ}$$C). Based on these results, we concluded that the decomposition of FeUO$$_{4}$$ was triggered by an ``in-crystal'' redox reaction, i.e., Fe$$^{mathrm{III}}$$ $${+}$$ U$$^{mathrm{V}}$$ $$rightarrow$$ Fe$$^{mathrm{II}}$$ $${+}$$ U$$^{mathrm{VI}}$$, which would not occur in the CrUO$$_{4}$$ lattice because Cr$$^{mathrm{III}}$$ could never be reduced under the investigated condition. Finally, the existence of Cr$$^{mathrm{III}}$$ in FexCr$$_{1-x}$$UO$$_{4}$$ effectively suppressed the decomposition of the Fe$$_{x}$$Cr$$_{1-x}$$UO$$_{4}$$ crystal, even at a very low Cr content.

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