Jahn-Teller distortion driven magnetic polarons in magnetite

H. Y. Huang, Z. Y. Chen, R. P. Wang, F. M.F. De Groot, W. B. Wu, J. Okamoto, A. Chainani, A. Singh, Z. Y. Li, J. S. Zhou, H. T. Jeng, G. Y. Guo, Je Geun Park, L. H. Tjeng, C. T. Chen, D. J. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The first known magnetic mineral, magnetite, has unusual properties, which have fascinated mankind for centuries; it undergoes the Verwey transition around 120 K with an abrupt change in structure and electrical conductivity. The mechanism of the Verwey transition, however, remains contentious. Here we use resonant inelastic X-ray scattering over a wide temperature range across the Verwey transition to identify and separate out the magnetic excitations derived from nominal Fe2+ and Fe3+ states. Comparison of the experimental results with crystal-field multiplet calculations shows that the spin-orbital dd excitons of the Fe2+ sites arise from a tetragonal Jahn-Teller active polaronic distortion of the Fe2+ O6 octahedra. These low-energy excitations, which get weakened for temperatures above 350 K but persist at least up to 550 K, are distinct from optical excitations and are best explained as magnetic polarons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15929
JournalNature communications
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 29

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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