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ferrous nitride is an iron compound that exhibits exceptional mechanical properties and chemical stability. It can be prepared in several forms and is a good choice for applications that require strong durability, such as high-temperature resistant bearings.
Stable iron nitrides are a promising material for heterogeneous catalysis, as well as for the use in spacecraft-based thrusters that are required to control the orbit and altitude of a flight vehicle. Nevertheless, the preparation of thin iron nitride films is a challenging task, as it requires precise control and knowledge of the growth and structure of the materials.
Various studies of the formation of iron nitrides have shown that the Fe-N phase diagram is very complex, with numerous possible iron nitrides phases. However, the most important of these are a”-Fe16N2 and g”-Fe4N, which are both characterized by a ferromagnetic magnetic moment value of 2.0-2.2 mB/Fe atom (Figure 2d).
The two iron nitride phases differ from each other in their lattice parameters and their crystallographic structure. The a”-Fe16N2 phase is metastable and can decompose into a”-Fe8N and a”-Fe16N2; it is difficult to synthesize in single-phase form. It is therefore used as a transition phase for nitride-catalyzed reactions.
Unlike the a”-Fe16N2 structure, the unit cell of g”-Fe4N has a larger lattice parameter (a = 5.72 A and c = 6.31 A; c/a = 1.)50, resulting in eight (2 x 2 x 2) tetragonal cells. This tetragonal structure has an antiparallel symmetry and a Baker-Nutting orientation relationship.