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  1. KBiNb 2 O 7 was prepared from RbBiNb 2 O 7 by a sequence of cation exchange reactions which first convert RbBiNb 2 O 7 to LiBiNb 2 O 7 , before KBiNb 2 O 7 is formed by a further K-for-Li cation exchange. A combination of neutron, synchrotron X-ray and electron diffraction data reveal that KBiNb 2 O 7 adopts a polar, layered, perovskite structure (space group A 11 m ) in which the BiNb 2 O 7 layers are stacked in a (0, ½, z ) arrangement, with the K + cations located in half of the available 10-coordinate interlayer cation sites. The inversion symmetry of the phase is broken by a large displacement of the Bi 3+ cations parallel to the y -axis. HAADF-STEM images reveal that KBiNb 2 O 7 exhibits frequent stacking faults which convert the (0, ½, z ) layer stacking to (½, 0, z ) stacking and vice versa , essentially switching the x - and y -axes of the material. By fitting the complex diffraction peak shape of the SXRD data collected from KBiNb 2 O 7 it is estimated that each layer has approximately a 9% chance of being defective – a high level which is attributed to the lack of cooperative NbO 6 tilting in the material, which limits the lattice strain associated with each fault. 
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  2. Preparing materials which simultaneously exhibit spontaneous magnetic and electrical polarisations is challenging as the electronic features which are typically used to stabilise each of these two polarisations in materials are contradictory. Here we show that by performing low-temperature cation-exchange reactions on a hybrid improper ferroelectric material, Li2SrTa2O7, which adopts a polar structure due to a cooperative tilting of its constituent TaO6 octahedra rather than an electronically driven atom displacement, a paramagnetic polar phase, MnSrTa2O7, can be prepared. On cooling below 43 K the Mn2+ centres in MnSrTa2O7 adopt a canted antiferromagnetic state, with a small spontaneous magnetic moment. On further cooling to 38 K there is a further transition in which the size of the ferromagnetic moment increases coincident with a decrease in magnitude of the polar distortion, consistent with a coupling between the two polarisations. 
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  3. Solid state compounds which exhibit non-centrosymmetric crystal structures are of great interest due to the physical properties they can exhibit. The ‘hybrid improper’ mechanism – in which two non-polar distortion modes couple to, and stabilize, a further polar distortion mode, yielding an acentric crystal structure – offers opportunities to prepare a range of novel non-centrosymmetric solids, but examples of compounds exhibiting acentric crystal structures stabilized by this mechanism are still relatively rare. Here we describe a series of bismuth-containing layered perovskite oxide phases, RbBiNb 2 O 7 , LiBiNb 2 O 7 and NaBiNb 2 O 7 , which have structural frameworks compatible with hybrid-improper ferroelectricity, but also contain Bi 3+ cations which are often observed to stabilize acentric crystal structures due to their 6s 2 electronic configurations. Neutron powder diffraction analysis reveals that RbBiNb 2 O 7 and LiBiNb 2 O 7 adopt polar crystal structures (space groups I 2 cm and B 2 cm respectively), compatible with stabilization by a trilinear coupling of non-polar and polar modes. The Bi 3+ cations present are observed to enhance the magnitude of the polar distortions of these phases, but are not the primary driver for the acentric structure, as evidenced by the observation that replacing the Bi 3+ cations with Nd 3+ cations does not change the structural symmetry of the compounds. In contrast the non-centrosymmetric, but non-polar structure of NaBiNb 2 O 7 (space group P 2 1 2 1 2 1 ) differs significantly from the centrosymmetric structure of NaNdNb 2 O 7 , which is attributed to a second-order Jahn-Teller distortion associated with the presence of the Bi 3+ cations. 
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