Zener Double Exchange from Local Valence Fluctuations in Magnetite
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Magnetite (Fe3O4) is a mixed valent system where electronic conductivity occurs on the B site (octahedral) iron sublattice of the spinel structure. Below TV=123 K, a metal-insulator transition occurs which is argued to arise from the charge ordering of 2+ and 3+ iron valences on the B sites (Verwey transition). Inelastic neutron scattering measurements show that optical spin waves propagating on the B site sublattice (∼80 meV) are shifted upwards in energy above TV due to the occurrence of B-B ferromagnetic double exchange in the mixed valent phase. The double exchange interaction affects only spin waves of Δ5 symmetry, not all modes, indicating that valence fluctuations are slow and the double exchange is constrained by short-range electron correlations above TV.
Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 246401 (2007) [4 pages]