A novel approach to domain imaging in natural Fe/Ti oxides by spin-polarized scanning electron microscopy



A novel approach to magnetic domain imaging in rock magnetism is described. Spin-polarized scanning electron microscopy is a technique that can map domain patterns on a submicron scale and moreover completely differentiate the information on magnetism and morphology. We demonstrate the applicability of the technique to problems of rock magnetism by identifying the domain configuration in a natural ore grain consisting of two Fe/Ti-oxide phases. Strong contrast enhancement can be achieved by covering the specimen with ultrathin Fe overlayers. We compare our approach to existing domain imaging techniques and discuss the potential of this method to obtain detailed insight into the microscopic magnetization processes relevant to rock magnetism.