Materials composed of two dimensional layers bonded to one another through weak van der Waals interactions often exhibit strongly anisotropic behaviors and can be cleaved into very thin specimens and sometimes into monolayer crystals. Interest in such materials is driven by the study of low dimensional physics and the design of functional heterostructures. Binary compounds with the compositions
is a metal cation and X
is a halogen anion often form such structures. Magnetism can be incorporated by choosing a transition metal with a partially filled d
-shell for M
, enabling ferroic responses for enhanced functionality. Here a brief overview of binary transition metal dihalides and trihalides is given, summarizing their crystallographic properties and long-range-ordered magnetic structures, focusing on those materials with layered crystal structures and partially filled d
-shells required for combining low dimensionality and cleavability with magnetism.
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