Spangolite: an s = 1/2 maple leaf lattice antiferromagnet?
Spangolite, Cu6Al(SO4)(OH)12Cl·3H2O, is a hydrated layered copper sulfate mineral. The Cu2+ ions of each layer form a systematically depleted triangular lattice which approximates a maple leaf lattice. We present details of the crystal structure, which suggest that in spangolite this lattice actually comprises two species of edge linked trimers with different exchange parameters. However, magnetic susceptibility measurements show that despite the structural trimers, the magnetic properties are dominated by dimerization. The high temperature magnetic moment is strongly reduced below that expected for the six s = 1/2 in the unit cell.