Congratulations to Laura Agnarelli for the successful completion of her PhD thesis!

November 01, 2023

During her PhD studies, Laura focused on the investigations of intermetallic compounds containing Be and Mg with late transition metals with the aim to find new semiconductors.

These materials are characterized by a reduced number of valence electrons which, from a chemical bonding point of view, led to the formation of polar multiatomic bonds and by a charge transfer which is proved to play an important role for stabilizing these crystallographic arrangements. During the study of the Mg–Pt binary system, two new phases, Mg3Pt2 and Mg29-xPt4+y were identified. Mg3Pt2 it is characterized by the formation of Pt anionic chains, stabilized by a complex multiatomic interactions which involve also Mg atoms. Mg29-xPt4+y belongs to the complex intermetallic compounds and a combined study of single crystal and chemical bonding analysis revealed for Mg29-xPt4+y an unusual mixed Mg/Pt site occupation around the origin of the unit cell and space-separation of regions containing hetero- and homoatomic bonds involving three to six partners, quite new for the complex intermetallic compounds, which in general show a homogenic distribution of heteroatomic interactions. Additionally, the Be–Ru binary system was explored. The study led to the redetermination of the crystal structure of Be3Ru2, Be2Ru and Be3Ru each of them featuring unique structural motifs and bonding patterns. Additionally, new structural prototypes, Be7Ru4 and Be12Ru7, were identified in the phase diagram.

Laura’s work has so far resulted in the following publications, with several more works currently in preparation:

  • L. Agnarelli et al. "Stability of the atomic arrangement in Laves phases Be2Fe1–xOsx (0≤ x ≤ 0.75) and Be2Fe1–xRux (x≈ 0.5)." Journal of Alloys and Compounds 968 (2023): 171911.
  • L. Agnarelli et al. "Structural complexity in the apparently simple crystal structure of Be2Ru." Chemistry–A European Journal (2023): e202300578.
  • L. Agnarelli et al. "Mg29–xPt4+y: Chemical Bonding Inhomogeneity and Structural Complexity." Inorganic Chemistry 61, no. 40 (2022): 16148-16155.
  • L. Agnarelli et al. "Be3Ru: Polar Multiatomic Bonding in the Closest Packing of Atoms." ChemistryOpen 11, no. 6 (2022): e202200118.
  • L. Agnarelli et al. “Mg3Pt2: Anionic chains in a Eu3Ga2-type structure.” Inorganic chemistry, (2021), 60, pp.13681-13690.

Laura is moving on to a postdoctoral position in the CRISMAT lab at the CNRS in France. We wish Laura all the best for her future.

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