Magnetic properties of Lanthanides

The 4f electrons are responsible for the strong magnetism exhibited by the metals and compounds of the lanthanides. In the incomplete 4f subshell the magnetic effects of the different electrons do not cancel out each other as they do in a completed subshell, and this factor gives rise to the interesting magnetic behaviour of these elements. At higher temperatures, all the lanthanides except lutetium are paramagnetic (weakly magnetic), and this paramagnetism frequently shows a strong anisotropy. As the temperature is lowered, many of the metals exhibit a point below which they become antiferromagnetism (i.e., magnetic moments of the ions are aligned but some are opposed to others), and, as the temperatures are lowered still further, many of them go through a series of spin rearrangements, which may or may not be in conformity with the regular crystal lattice. Finally, at still lower temperatures, a number of these elements become ferromagnetic (i.e., strongly magnetic, like iron). Some of the metals have saturation moments (magnetism observed when all the magnetic moments of the ions are aligned) greater than iron, cobalt, or nickel.