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Minerals 2018, 8(3), 97; doi:10.3390/min8030097

The Role of ε-Fe2O3 Nano-Mineral and Domains in Enhancing Magnetic Coercivity: Implications for the Natural Remanent Magnetization

Department of Geoscience, NASA Astrobiology Institute, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 January 2018 / Revised: 16 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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A natural ε-Fe2O3 nano-mineral (luogufengite) has been discovered in young basaltic rocks around the world. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observed euhedral or subhedral luogufengite nano-minerals with crystal sizes ranging from 10 to 120 nm in the basaltic rocks. The magnetic property of treated scoria sample (containing 75.3(5) wt % luogufengite) showed a saturation remanence of 11.3 emu g−1 with a coercive field of 0.17 tesla (T) at room temperature. Luogufengite-like nano-domains were also observed in natural permanent magnets (lodestone) and Fe-Ti oxides (ilmenite-magnetite series) with strong remanent magnetization. The structure of luogufengite-like domains (double hexagonal close-packing) is associated with the interfaces between the (111) plane of cubic magnetite and the (0001) plane of rhombohedral hematite or ilmenite. Stacking faults and twin boundaries of magnetite/maghemite can also produce the luogufengite-like domains. The nano-domains oriented along the magnetic easy axis play an essential role in enhancing the magnetic coercivity of lodestone and Fe-Ti oxide. We conclude that the luogufengite nano-minerals and nano-domains provide an explanation for coercivity and strong remanent magnetization in igneous, metamorphic rocks and even some reported Martian rocks. These nano-scaled multilayer structures extend our knowledge of magnetism and help us to understand the diverse magnetic anomalies occurring on Earth and other planetary bodies. View Full-Text
Keywords: luogufengite; lodestone; Fe-Ti oxide; coercivity; natural remanent magnetism luogufengite; lodestone; Fe-Ti oxide; coercivity; natural remanent magnetism

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lee, S.; Xu, H. The Role of ε-Fe2O3 Nano-Mineral and Domains in Enhancing Magnetic Coercivity: Implications for the Natural Remanent Magnetization. Minerals 2018, 8, 97.

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