Micromagnetic simulations have been used to explore the interaction between ferrimagnetic domain walls (DWs) and ferroelastic twin walls (TWs) below the Verwey transition in magnetite (Fe3O4). Simulations were performed using a thin-foil geometry in order to replicate the domain patterns observed experimentally using transmission electron microscopy. The magnetic microstructure is shown to be highly sensitive to the physical dimensions and crystallographic orientation of the foil, the spatial distribution and crystallographic classification of the TWs and the temperature/field history of the sample. A method to calculate the phase shift of a beam of electrons passing through the micromagnetic simulations is applied. The resulting phase maps provide a robust interpretation of experimental images obtained using Fresnel-mode Lorentz microscopy and off-axis electron holography. The interaction between ferrimagnetic and ferroelastic DWs during field cycling provides an explanation for the low-temperature ‘field-memory effect’ in magnetite.
Phase Transitions, 2013, Vol 86, Issue 1, p. 88-102