Magnetoelastic coupling associated with vacancy ordering and ferrimagnetism in natural pyrrhotite, Fe7S8

C. R. S. Haines, G. I. Lampronti, M. A. Carpenter

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Magnetoelastic coupling associated with the hexagonal-monoclinic transition in a natural sample of the mineral pyrrhotite, Fe7S8, has been analysed in terms of separate coupling of spontaneous strains with two discrete order parameters, q v for Fe/vacancy ordering and q m for magnetic ordering. Coupling of the two order parameters separately with strain gives rise to two terms for coupling between them, λ q m-2 q v-2 and λ q m-2q v-8, and a pattern of evolution in which q v varies continuously and q m discontinuously through a single transition point. The transition is ferrimagnetic and ferroelastic but the relatively slow relaxation rate for Fe/vacancy ordering, in comparison with magnetic ordering, results in elastic and anelastic properties which are quite different from those observed in other ferroic or multiferroic materials with two instabilities. Instead of classical elastic softening, there is stiffening of the elastic constants which scales with q m-2 and q v-2. Instead of the normal pattern of acoustic loss associated with the mobility and subsequent freezing for ferroelastic twin walls, the loss is consistently low throughout the temperature range 300 K-875 K.

Original languageEnglish
Article number385401
JournalJournal of Physics: Condensed Matter
Issue number38
Early online date19 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sep 2020


  • Fe S
  • Pyrrhotite
  • magnetoelastic coupling
  • vacancy ordering

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