Quantum materials are a broad class of systems that exhibit many unusual and exotic phenomena  in which the chemical and magnetic ground states can be deeply intertwined. For example, ZnV2O4 is an S = 1, cubic spinel which contains a geometrically frustrated pyrochlore sublattice. Previous studies have shown that the magnetic ground state for ZnV2O4 appears to be highly sample dependent, ranging from an antiferromagnet to an unconventional and highly frustrated spin glass [2-4]. We hypothesise that local deviations from the average chemical structure, which arise during the sample preparation, are at the heart of this problem. To explore this, we have prepared two powder samples of ZnV2O4 using different synthetic routes, a conventional solid-state route and a novel rapid microwave-assisted method . In this talk we will explore how synthesis impacts the evolution of the chemical and magnetic ground states of ZnV2O4, using high-resolution powder neutron and X-ray diffraction and magnetometry to reveal the average structural and magnetic behaviour, and, X-ray pair distribution function analysis and diffuse neutron scattering data to understand the local structure.
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