Ternary metal nitrides ( of general formula MxM'N-y(z)) attract considerable interest because of their special mechanical, electrical, magnetic, and catalytic properties. Usually they are prepared by ammonolysis of ternary oxides (MxM'O-y(m)) at elevated temperatures. We show that ternary transition metal nitrides are also obtained by nitridation of the corresponding ternary carbide at 823 K. This transformation appears to occur by solid-state diffusion of carbide and nitride ions. To establish more general synthesis schemes for ternary nitrides, we have focused on the preparation of ternary nitrides by mechanochemical alloying of a binary transition metal nitride (MxN) with an elemental transition metal. In this way, we have been able to prepare Fe3Mo3N and Co3Mo3N by ball-milling of Mo2N with Fe and Co, respectively. The transformation sequence from the starting materials ( the binary nitride and the transition metal) to the ternary nitride was followed by Mossbauer spectroscopy (for Fe3Mo3N) and by X-ray powder diffraction ( for both Fe3Mo3N and Co3Mo3N). Usually, the preparation of a given ternary nitride by ammonolysis of a ternary oxide is dependent on the availability of an oxide precursor with the desired stoichiometric ratio of the two metals. In the present mechanochemical approach, this is not a prerequisite. These synthesis routes are expected to be applicable to the synthesis of a wide range of ternary compounds.
Journal of Materials Chemistry, 2002, Vol 12, Issue 10, p. 3113-3116