Hyperfine Interactions

, 240:44 | Cite as

Magnetite and the Verwey transition, from γ-rays to low-energy electrons

  • Juan de la FigueraEmail author
  • José F. Marco
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Proceedings of the 16th Latin American Conference on the Applications of the Mössbauer Effect (LACAME 2018), 18–23 November 2018, Santiago de Chile, Chile


Magnetite, a semiconducting ferrimagnetic iron spinel with a metal-insulator phase transition, the Verwey transition, has long been the subject of Mössbauer spectroscopy studies, which continue today. We review the current status of the understanding of the Mössbauer spectra of magnetite. Furthermore, magnetite is a very attractive material in current topics such as spintronics. In this particular subject, to determine the behavior of magnetic domains is paramount, and the changes ocurring on the near surface region upon undergoing the Verwey transition are relevant. In order to advance in this area, we have incorporated some new techniques, namely microscopy observations made with low-energy electrons. These observations can be performed upon changing the temperature, and can provide magnetic contrast through the use of spin-polarized electrons. By this means, we have observed the ferroelastic transformation associated with the Verwey transition, discovered an order-disorder transition of the (001) surface of magnetite and observed the changes in the magnetic domains on the same surface by changing the temperature. Low-energy electrons also are the key to the Mössbauer experiments of magnetite films and surfaces, with the promise of providing surface-sensitive spatially resolved Mössbauer spectra.


Magnetite Surfaces Magnetism Low-energy electrons Low-energy electron microscopy Mössbauer spectroscopy Verwey transition 


75.50.Gg 76.80.+y 75.70.i 71.30.+h 



This research was partially supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness No. MAT2015-64110-C2-1-P, the Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid NANOMAGCOST-CM project with Ref. P2018/NMT-4321, the European Commission through Project H2020 No. 720853 (Amphibian) and the Chilean FONDECYT Project No. 1161117.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Química Física “Rocasolano”MadridSpain

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