Origin of the verwey transition in magnetite

G. Kh Rozenberg*, Moshe Paz-Pasternak, W. M. Xu, Y. Amiel, M. Hanfland, M. Amboage, R. D. Taylor, R. Jeanloz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Comprehensive x-ray powder diffraction studies were carried out in magnetite in the 80-150 K and 0-12 GPa ranges with a membrane-driven diamond anvil cell and helium as a pressure medium. Careful data analyses have shown that a reversible, cubic to a distorted-cubic, structural transition takes place with increasing pressure, within the (P,T) regime below the Verwey temperature TV(P). The experimental documentation that TV(P)=Tdist(P) implies that the pressure-temperature-driven metal-insulator Verwey transition is caused by a gap opening in the electronic band structure due to the crystal-structural transformation to a lower-symmetry phase. The distorted-cubic insulating phase comprises a relatively small pressure-temperature range of the stability field of the cubic metallic phase that extends to 25 GPa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045705
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006


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