Connecting observations of hematite (α-Fe2O3) growth catalyzed by Fe(II)

Kevin M. Rosso, Svetlana V. Yanina, Christopher A. Gorski, Philip Larese-Casanova, Michelle M. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Electron exchange between aqueous Fe(II) and structural Fe(III) in iron oxides and oxyhydroxides is important for understanding degradation of environmental pollutants through its apparent constitutive role underlying highly reactive "sorbed Fe(II)" and by catalyzing phase interconversion among these minerals. Although a mechanistic understanding of relationships between interfacial Fe(II)ads-Fe(III)oxide electron transfer, bulk electron conduction, Fe(II) release, and phase transformation behavior is emerging, much remains unclear, in part due to poorly interconnected investigations. The focus of this study is on reconciling two mutually similar observations of Fe(II)-catalyzed hematite growth documented spectroscopically and microscopically under substantially different chemical conditions. Here, we employ iron isotopic labeling to demonstrate that hematite grown on the (001) surface in Fe(II)-oxalate solution at pH 2.10 and 348 K has magnetic properties that closely correspond to those of hematite grown in Fe(II) solution at pH 7.4 and room temperature. The temperature evolution and extent of the Morin transition displayed in these two materials strongly suggest a mechanistic link involving trace structural Fe(II) incorporation into the growing hematite. Our findings indicate that Fe(II) catalyzed growth of hematite on hematite can occur under environmentally relevant conditions and may be due to bulk electron conduction previously demonstrated for hematite single crystals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-67
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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