XMCD and Magnetic Evidence for Cation Reordering in Synthetic Mg- and Al-substituted Titanomagnetites
Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 2:55 PM
The titanomagnetite (TM) solid solution (Fe3-xTixO4, 0 ≤ x ≤ 1) is one of the most important natural magnetic minerals used in paleomagnetic studies. Natural TMs with Mg- and Al-substitution have recently been shown to have Curie temperatures (TC) that vary strongly with thermal history, and these variations have been indirectly linked to cation reordering in the crystal lattice (Bowles et al. 2013). Here we present the first direct evidence for cation reordering linked to these TC variations. We have synthesized TMs with varying degrees of Mg2+ and Al3+ substitution to better understand the mechanism at work in the natural samples. TC was determined by measuring magnetic susceptibility as function of temperature under Argon atmosphere. Isothermal annealing experiments between 10-1 to 103 h at temperatures between 300-500°C were conducted. Subsequent TC measurements showed that TC on warming increases for longer anneal times and higher anneal temperatures, whereas TC on cooling decreases. These resulting TC changes can be linked to cation ordering within the crystal structure. Splits of the same samples were studied via X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD), which is sensitive to both Fe valence state and site occupancy. Preliminary results suggest differences in Fe2+/Fe3+ site occupancy for samples of different compositions for different annealing treatments. Using the data collected for these synthetic samples we hope to gain further insight into the complex relationship between thermal history and cation distribution leading to changes in TC. So far, our understanding of the acquisition of thermal remanent magnetization (TRM) in TMs is predicated on the assumption that TC is a constant only depending on the mineral composition. However, the distribution of the magnetic Fe2+ and Fe3+ cations within the crystal lattice has a strong influence on the value of TC and cation (dis-)/ordering processes can result in large changes in TC. In natural samples, reordering results in changes in TCof up to >150°C on timescales and at temperatures relevant to both geological and laboratory processes. Thus, the cation reordering has major implications for the acquisition, retention, and demagnetization of partial TRM and thermoviscous remanence and may have an impact on many paleomagnetic studies using natural TMs.