Real-space imaging of the Verwey transition at the (100) surface of magnetite

Juan De La Figuera, Zbynek Novotny, Martin Setvin, Tijiang Liu, Zhiqiang Mao, Gong Chen, Alpha T. N'Diaye, Michael Schmid, Ulrike Diebold, Andreas K. Schmid, Gareth S. Parkinson

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22 Scopus citations


Effects of the Verwey transition on the (100) surface of magnetite were studied using scanning tunneling microscopy and spin polarized low-energy electron microscopy. On cooling through the transition temperature T V, the initially flat surface undergoes a rooflike distortion with a periodicity of ∼0.5 μm due to ferroelastic twinning within monoclinic domains of the low-temperature monoclinic structure. The monoclinic c axis orients in the surface plane, along the [001]c directions. At the atomic scale, the charge-ordered (√2×√2)R45 â̂̃ reconstruction of the (100) surface is unperturbed by the bulk transition, and is continuous over the twin boundaries. Time resolved low-energy electron microscopy movies reveal the structural transition to be first order at the surface, indicating that the bulk transition is not an extension of the Verwey-like (√2×√2)R45 â̂̃ reconstruction. Although conceptually similar, the charge-ordered phases of the (100) surface and sub-TV bulk of magnetite are unrelated phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number161410
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number16
StatePublished - Oct 29 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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