Nano Research

Article Title

Stability of the Fe12O12 cluster


Fe12O12, evolutionary program, superexchange effect, DFT+U, Heisenberg model


ABSTRACT Superexchange effects play an important role in the determination of crystal structures; however, there has been much less reported on how they determine the stability of clusters. Using evolutionary search strategies and DFT+U (density functional theory with the Hubbard U correction) calculations, we investigate the global minimum-energy structures of Fe12On clusters. Among predicted Fe12On clusters, a cage-shaped Fe12O12 cluster with unexpected stability was observed. In addition, the bare Fe12O12 cluster is shown to possess an extremely large energy gap (2.00 eV), which is greater than that of C60, Au20 and Al13− clusters. Using a Heisenberg model, we traced the origin of the unexpected stability of the bare Fe12O12 cluster to magnetic competition between the nearestneighbor exchange constant J1 and the next-nearest neighbor exchange constant J2 that was induced by the superexchange interactions. The bare Fe12O12 cluster is thus a unique molecule that is stable and chemically inert.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press