Domain wall pinning in titanomagnetite has been investigated at low temperatures using first-order reversal curve (FORC) diagrams, AC magnetic susceptibility, and Lorentz transmission electron microscopy. A discontinuous transition from a low-coercivity extrinsic pinning regime to a high-coercivity intrinsic pinning regime is evident in low-temperature FORC diagrams on cooling from 100 to 50 K. Intrinsic pinning is characterized by a "crescent moon" FORC distribution with narrow coercivity distribution centered on 10-20 mT. This crescent-shaped FORC distribution is reproduced using a modification of Néel's (1955) one-dimensional theory of domain wall pinning in a random field. The pinning transition coincides with a thermally activated relaxation process (activation energy 0.13 ± 0.01 eV), attributed to electron hopping. The relaxation and intrinsic pinning are explained as a magnetoelastic aftereffect caused by enhancement of magnetocrystalline anisotropy due to rearrangement and localization of Fe2+?Fe3+ cations within the domain walls. This study provides experimental verification that Néel's theory is an appropriate quantitative framework for the analysis of FORC diagrams in multidomain titanomagnetite and suggests a potential method for the quantitative unmixing of multidomain signals from FORC diagrams in rock and environmental magnetic studies.
- Domain wall
- Low temperature