Topographic and Magnetic-Sensitive Scanning Tunneling Microscope Study of Magnetite

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Science  31 Jan 1992:
Vol. 255, Issue 5044, pp. 583-586
DOI: 10.1126/science.255.5044.583


The topographic and magnetic surface structure of a natural single crystal of magnetite (Fe304), a common mineral, has been studied from the submicrometer scale down to the atomic scale with a scanning tunneling microscope having nonmagnetic tungsten as well as ferromagnetic iron probe tips. Several different (001) crystal planes were imaged to atomic resolution with both kinds of tips. A selective imaging of the octahedrally coordinated Fe B-sites in the Fe-O planes, and even a selective imaging of the different magnetic ions Fe2+ and Fe3+, has been achieved, demonstrating for the first time that magnetic imaging can be realized at the atomic level.

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