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High spin-dependent tunneling magnetoresistance in magnetite powders made by arc-discharge
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We report the successful synthesis of ferrimagnetic magnetite
powders made using an arc-discharge method in a partial oxygen atmosphere. X-ray and electron diffraction measurements show that the powders also contain some antiferromagnetic hematite and a small amount of FeO and Fe that has not oxidized. The Raman data show that there is a small fraction of ferrimagnetic maghemite that cannot be seen in the x-ray diffraction data. There is a wide particle size distribution where there are nanoparticles as small as 7 nm, larger faceted nanoparticles, and particles that are up to 25 μm in diameter. The saturation
magnetization at high magnetic fields is ∼74% of that found in the bulk magnetite, where the lower value is due to the presence of some antiferromagnetic hematite. The temperature dependence of the saturation
magnetization changes at the Verwey transition temperature, and it has a power low dependence with an exponent of 3/2 at low temperatures and 2.23 at high temperatures above the Verwey transition temperature. Electronic transport measurements were made on a cold-pressed pellet and the electrical resistance had an exponential dependence on temperature that may be due to electrostatic charging during tunneling between small nanoparticles. A large magnetoresistance from spin-dependent tunneling between the magnetite particles was observed that reached −9.5% at 120 K and 8 T.
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