Research Abstract


Atomic-scale structure and properties of highly stable antiphase boundary defects in ​Fe3O4

2014年12月10日 Nature Communications 5 : 5740 doi: 10.1038/ncomms6740


Keith P. McKenna, Florian Hofer, Daniel Gilks, Vlado K. Lazarov, Chunlin Chen, Zhongchang Wang & Yuichi Ikuhara

Corresponding Authors

Keith P. McKenna
Chunlin Chen
東北大学 原子分子材料科学高等研究機構

The complex and intriguing properties of the ferrimagnetic half metal ​magnetite (​Fe3O4) are of continuing fundamental interest as well as being important for practical applications in spintronics, magnetism, catalysis and medicine. There is considerable speculation concerning the role of the ubiquitous antiphase boundary (APB) defects in ​magnetite, however, direct information on their structure and properties has remained challenging to obtain. Here we combine predictive first principles modelling with high-resolution transmission electron microscopy to unambiguously determine the three-dimensional structure of APBs in ​magnetite. We demonstrate that APB defects on the {110} planes are unusually stable and induce antiferromagnetic coupling between adjacent domains providing an explanation for the magnetoresistance and reduced spin polarization often observed. We also demonstrate how the high stability of the {110} APB defects is connected to the existence of a metastable bulk phase of ​Fe3O4, which could be stabilized by strain in films or nanostructures.