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Abstract

This chapter is an introduction to the main concepts underlying the present understanding of the physical properties of actinide solids. In the first half of the actinide series the elements behave as 5f transition metals; 5f electrons are then described as itinerant in metallic solids. Between plutonium and americium a cross-over from itineracy to localization, i.e. a true Mott transition is observed. Heavier actinides have a lanthanide-like behaviour, the 5f states exhibiting similar properties to the 4f states in lanthanides. The characteristics of 5f wavefunctions in the actinide atom as well as in actinide solids are reviewed. In the latter, overlapping of 5f wavefunctions between neighbouring atoms as well as their hybridization with other orbitals (actinide 6 d, or orbitals of non-actinide elements in compounds) are pointed out as being the two phenomena determining physical properties and bonding characteristics, in particular magnetism. Theories describing them, in particular Stoner's and Mott-Hubbard's models, are discussed in the light of their application to actinide physics. A short summary is presented of the main experimental evidence which justifies the theoretical description of actinide solids.

Additional information

Authors: FOURNIER J M UNIVERSITY OF GRENOBLE AND CEN DE GRENOBLE (FRANCE) MANES L JRC KARLSRUHE ESTAB. (GERMANY) , UNIVERSITY OF GRENOBLE AND CEN DE GRENOBLE (FRANCE);JRC KARLSRUHE ESTAB. (GERMANY)
Bibliographic Reference: PUBLISHED IN STRUCTURE AND BONDING, NO. 59/60, PP. 1-56, EDITED BY SPRINGER-VERLAG, 1985
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