Modification in Structure, Phase Transition, and Magnetic Property of Metallic Gallium Driven by Atom–Molecule Interactions

The present work supports a novel paradigm in which the surface structure and stacking behavior of metallic gallium (Ga) were significantly influenced by the preparation process in the presence of organic small molecules (ethanol, acetone, dichloromethane, and diethyl ether). The extent of the effect strongly depends on the polarity of the molecules. Especially, a series of new atom–molecule aggregates consisting of metallic Ga and macrocyclic hosts (cyclodextrins, CDs) were prepared and characterized by various techniques. A comprehensive comparative analysis between free metallic Ga and the Ga samples obtained provides important and at present rare information on the modification in structure, phase transition, and magnetic property of Ga driven by atom–molecule interactions. First, there is a notable difference in microstructure and electronic structure between the different types of Ga samples. Second, differential scanning calorimetry analysis gives us a complete picture (such as the occurrence of a series of metastable phases of Ga in the presence of CDs) that has allowed us to consider that Ga atoms were protected by the shielding effect provided by the cavities of CDs. Third, the metallic Ga distributed in the aggregates exhibits very interesting magnetic property compared to free metallic Ga, such as the uniform zero-field-cooled and field-cooled magnetization processes, the enhanced responses in magnetization to temperature and applied field, and the fundamental change in shape of magnetic hysteresis loops. These significant changes in structural transformation and physical property of Ga provide a novel insight into the understanding of atom–molecule interactions between metallic atoms and organic molecules.