The magnetic properties of bulk CeO2 (ceria) are not fully understood yet. Ceria is an ionic solid consisting of non-magnetic ions. Despite this, it is paramagnetic at room temperature. Weak, temperature-independent paramagnetism in non-metals is usually attributed to a second order Van Vleck-type magnetization. This magnetization can stem from a break in symmetry, and is observed in other materials such as SrTiO3. Indeed, ceria, despite having an average cubic structure, has been shown to have non-cubic Ce-O bond arrangement.
We are investigating the cause of this magnetic phenomenon with the hope that magnetic measurements can be used as a tool to study local symmetry.