The solid solutions between ilmenite (FeTiO3) and hematite (α-Fe2O3) have recently attracted considerable attention as a spintronic material due to their interesting magnetic and electrical properties. In this study, the electronic and magnetic structures of epitaxially grown 0.6FeTiO3·0.4Fe2O3 solid solution thin films were investigated by combining x-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES), x-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) for two different crystallographic projections, and first-principles theoretical calculations. The Fe L-edge XANES and XMCD spectra reveal that Fe is in the mixed-valent Fe2+-Fe3+ states while Fe2+ ions are mainly responsible for the magnetization. Moreover, the experimental Fe L-edge XANES and XMCD spectra change depending on the incident x-ray directions, and the theoretical spectra explain such spectral features. We also find a large orbital magnetic moment, which can originate the magnetic anisotropy of this system. On the other hand, although the valence state of Ti was interpreted to be 4+ from the Ti L-edge XANES, XMCD signals indicate that some electrons are present in the Ti-3d orbital, which are coupled antiparallel to the magnetic moment of Fe2+ ions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)