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Rapid Microwave Preparation and ab Initio Studies of the Stability of the Complex Noble Metal Oxides La2BaPdO5 and La2BaPtO5

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We present a rapid microwave-assisted solid-state approach to prepare complex platinum-group metal oxides with the formula La2BaMO5 (M = Pd, Pt). While conventional furnace-based preparations of these compounds take several days and often require oxidizing conditions, the microwave-assisted pathway enables the target compounds to be obtained with high phase purity in about 20 min of reaction time in air without the multiple regrindings that are required of conventional solid-state synthesis. These complex oxides are stable in various atmospheres up to 1000 °C unlike the simple noble metal oxides, which are reduced even at room temperature. Density functional theory-based calculations have been employed to establish the stability of these complex oxides and to understand the electronic structure origins of the stability, most notably the influence of electropositive cations. It is shown that the presence of electropositive ions in the oxide crystal structure "softens" the oxygen anion and results in more covalent (Pd/Pt)-O interactions.

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