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A different structural and optical behavior is found in SrMnO3 oxide when decreasing particle size to nanoscale. Microsized sample presents an orthorhombic distortion that becomes sharper when temperature decreases originating a color change from black to violet. A decrease in the orthorhombic distortion degree, compared to that observed in the microsample, may be the reason why a color change is not observed in nano-SrMnO3.
The influence of particle size in both the structure and thermochromic behavior of 4H-SrMnO3 related perovskite is described. Microsized SrMnO3 suffers a structural transition from hexagonal (P63/mmc) to orthorhombic (C2221) symmetry at temperature close to 340 K. The orthorhombic distortion is due to the tilting of the corner-sharing Mn2O9 units building the 4H structural type. When temperature decreases, the distortion becomes sharper reaching its maximal degree at ∼125 K. These structural changes promote the modification of the electronic structure of orthorhombic SrMnO3 phase originating the observed color change. nano-SrMnO3 adopts the ideal 4H hexagonal structure at room temperature, the orthorhombic distortion being only detected at temperature below 170 K. A decrease in the orthorhombic distortion degree, compared to that observed in the microsample, may be the reason why a color change is not observed at low temperature (77 K).
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