Magnetic fluctuations in nanosized goethite (alpha-FeOOH) grains

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Mossbauer spectra of antiferromagnetic goethite (alpha-FeOOH) particles usually show an asymmetric line broadening, which increases with increasing temperature, although the magnetic anisotropy is expected to be so large that magnetic relaxation effects should be negligible. By use of high resolution transmission electron microscopy we have studied a sample of goethite particles and have found that the particles contain many defects such as low angle grain boundaries, in accordance with previous studies of other samples of goethite particles. Such defects can result in a magnetic mismatch at the grain boundaries between nanometer-sized grains, leading to a weakened magnetic coupling between the grains. We show that the Mossbauer data of goethite can be explained by fluctuations of the sublattice magnetization directions in such weakly coupled grains. It is likely that the influence of defects such as low angle grain boundaries also plays a role with regards to the magnetic properties in other antiferromagnetic nanograin systems. We discuss the results in relation to Mossbauer studies of alpha-Fe2O3 and alpha-Fe2O3/NiO nanoparticles.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Volume21
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)016007
ISSN0953-8984
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

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