Superconductivity and cation-vacancy ordering in the rare-earth fulleride Yb2.75C60

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INTERCALATED fullerides exhibit remarkable physical properties, including superconductivity at record high temperatures for organic compounds1–6. The donor intercalants have so far been limited to alkali and alkaline-earth metals. Here we describe the synthesis, structure and magnetic properties of a rare-earth-doped fulleride, Yb2.75C60, which exhibits superconductivity below 6 K. Ytterbium cations occupy off-centred interstitial sites in the face-centred cubic C60 lattice, and leave eight tetrahedral sites vacant in an orthorhombic unit cell which is thereby doubled in each direction. These cation-vacancy sites exhibit long-range ordering, generating a superstructure which seems to be stabilized by a short-range interaction between charge-deficient single bonds in C60 and exclusively divalent cations. Our results demonstrate that superconductivity is not limited to C60 compounds of high structural symmetry.

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Özdaş, E., Kortan, A., Kopylov, N. et al. Superconductivity and cation-vacancy ordering in the rare-earth fulleride Yb2.75C60. Nature 375, 126–129 (1995) doi:10.1038/375126a0

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