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Detailed magnetic monitoring of the enhanced magnetism of ferrihydrite along its progressive transformation into hematite

AuthorsGutiérrez, Lucía ; Barrón, V.; Andrés-Vergés, M.; Serna Pereda, Carlos J. ; Veintemillas-Verdaguer, S. ; Morales, M. P. ; Lázaro, F. J.
Spin glass
Interacting nanoparticles
Issue DateJun-2016
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationJournal of Geophysical Research - Part B - Solid Earth 121(6): 4118-4129 (2016)
AbstractUnder certain aging conditions, ferrihydrite evolves into hematite through intermediate products of enhanced magnetism. Although the magnetic properties of the end product, hematite, are to date satisfactorily known, those of ferrihydrite (and especially the products of its progressive aging) are not sufficiently explored. To this end, magnetic experiments, conducted mostly by using alternating magnetic fields, have been performed. The results reveal that two-line ferrihydrite exhibits conspicuous low-temperature spin glass behavior, a new finding that, on the other hand, could be expected given the previous microstructural observations that described this mineral as a very disordered gel. Upon aging, a progressive increase of the effective magnetic moment per iron ion is detected, in agreement with previous observations that ascribed ferrimagnetic character to an intermediate crystalline phase (sometime called ferriferrihydrite) that disappears just before the full transformation into hematite. Transmission electron microscopy observations suggest that this intermediate crystalline phase nucleates at the expense of the primordial gel, remaining physically attached to it until complete transformation into hematite. This microstructural picture appears well supported as, upon aging, the glassy magnetic dynamics found in ferrihydrite persists for the aged products even when dispersed in a nonmagnetic matrix, very likely because part of the so grown ferrimagnetic nanoparticles form aggregates within remains of the nontransformed gel. We propose a coherent model of ferrihydrite aging, based on integrated microstructural and magnetic observations, which is useful for the identification of aging products in geological and biological environments.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1002/2016JB013016
Identifiersdoi: 10.1002/2016JB013016
e-issn: 2169-9356
Appears in Collections:(ICMM) Artículos
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