Morphological and crystallographic orientation of hematite spindles in an applied magnetic field†
The magnetic response of spindle-shaped hematite (α-Fe2O3) nanoparticles was investigated by simultaneous small-angle and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS) experiments. The field-dependent magnetic and nematic order parameters of the magnetic single-domain nanospindles in a static magnetic field are fully described by SAXS simulations of an oriented ellipsoid with the implemented Langevin function. The experimental scattering intensities of the spindle-like particles can be modeled simply by using the geometrical (length, radius, size distribution) and magnetic parameters (strength of magnetic field, magnetic moment) obtained from isotropic SAXS and macroscopic magnetization measurements, respectively. Whereas SAXS gives information on the morphological particle orientation in the applied field, WAXS texture analysis elucidates the atomic scale orientation of the magnetic easy direction in the hematite crystal structure. Our results strongly suggest the tendency for uniaxial anisotropy but indicate significant thermal fluctuations of the particle moments within the hematite basal plane.