The Dynamic Jahn-Teller Effect in Cu(II)/MgO

  • P. L. W. Tregenna-Piggott
  • C. J. Noble
  • Mark J. RileyEmail author
Part of the Progress in Theoretical Chemistry and Physics book series (PTCP, volume 23)


A true dynamic Jahn-Teller effect in the solid state has proven to be quite elusive, as pure compounds suffer from cooperative effects, while doped systems are susceptible to small crystal imperfections that lock the system into static distortions. Cu(II) doped into the cubic host MgO represents a rare example of such a dynamic Jahn-Teller system and has been the subject of numerous experimental and theoretical studies. Recently we have presented high resolution low temperature Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectra of Cu(II)/MgO as a function of the applied field direction. These spectra indicate that at temperatures as low as 1.8 K the Cu(II) centre is in a degenerate vibronic state of E symmetry that is delocalized over the ground potential energy surface, indicating a true dynamic Jahn-Teller effect. The experiments also show us that this system has a potential energy surface with three equivalent minima, each at three equivalent tetragonally elongated geometries, separated by low barriers. Relaxation from the anisotropic E type spectrum to an isotropic spectrum occurs at temperatures above 6 K. The observation of the dynamic Jahn-Teller effect in this system is due to small barrier heights between the minima and the random crystal strain, which is small when compared to the tunneling splitting. We examine the limitations of the experiment in being able to determine these quantities separately and suggest future experiments that may shed further light on this fascinating system.


Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectrum Hyperfine Line Vibronic State Resonant Field 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to acknowledge the many years friendship and collaboration with Phillip Tregenna-Piggott, you will be sadly missed.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. L. W. Tregenna-Piggott
    • 1
  • C. J. Noble
    • 2
  • Mark J. Riley
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory for Neutron ScatteringETH Zürich & Paul Scherrer InstitutVilligen PSISwitzerland
  2. 2.Centre for Advanced ImagingUniversity of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
  3. 3.School of Chemistry and Molecular BiosciencesUniversity of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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