Domain walls in single-crystal magnetite investigated by magnetic force microscopy

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Domain walls in single-crystal magnetite investigated by magnetic force microscopy

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Journal of Geophysical Research (American Geophysical Union)




Domain walls in bulk single-crystal magnetite were studied using a variable magnetic field magnetic force microscope (MFM). Classical configurations of 180°, 109°, and 71° walls were observed on (110) surfaces. Magnetostatic effects on these different walls were compared. Profiles of the MFM response above the walls were measured with the MFM tip magnetized in different directions. The contribution to the profiles from the z component of the sample field was distinguished from the in-plane components. An asymmetry of the z component of the response profiles for all wall types was observed, consistent with the existence of Néel caps which terminate the interior Bloch walls near the surface. The wall profiles of the non-180° walls were more asymmetric than that of the 180° walls. The 180° walls were observed to be subdivided into alternating polarity segments of average length 15 μm. These walls formed a characteristic zig-zag structure in which the Bloch lines separating segments were located at the corners of the zig-zag. Only unusually long 109° walls were observed to contain a single Bloch line, and the 71° walls, although the longest, were never observed to be subdivided. An applied field perpendicular to the sample plane moved the Bloch lines within the walls without translating the walls themselves. Multipolar walls were converted to unipolar in perpendicular applied fields from O to 100 mT. Profiles of opposite polarity segments of a subdivided wall indicated that the Néel cap formation does not alternate sides of the wall from segment to segment. Alignment of opposite polarity segments of parallel subdivided walls provided an example of long range magnetostatic interactions between walls and possibly their Néel caps.


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We gratefully acknowledge the support from the Office of Naval Research grant N00014-94-1-0123 (S.F., R.P., E.D.D.). In addition, B.M. was supported by NSF grants EAR-9304520 and EAR-9526812. This is contribution 9708 of the Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM). The IRM is supported by grants from the Keck Foundation and the NSF.

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Previously Published Citation

Foss, S., B. M. Moskowitz, R. Proksch and E. D. Dahlberg (1999). "Domain walls in single-crystal magnetite investigated by magnetic force microscopy." Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth 103: 30,551-30,560.

Suggested citation

Foss, Sheryl; Moskowitz, Bruce; Proksch, Roger; Dahlberg, E.D.. (1999). Domain walls in single-crystal magnetite investigated by magnetic force microscopy. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, 10.1029/98JB00152.

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