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Advanced spectroscopic synchrotron techniques to unravel the intrinsic properties of dilute magnetic oxides: the case of Co:ZnO

Ney, A.; Opel, M.; Kaspar, T. C.; Ney, V.; Ye, S.; Ollefs, K.; Kammermeier, T.; Bauer, S.; Nielsen, K.-W.; Goennenwein, S. T. B.; Engelhard, M. H.; Zhou, S.; Potzger, K.; Simon, J.; Mader, W.; Heald, S. M.; Cezar, J. C.; Wilhelm, F.; Rogalev, A.; Gross, R.; Chambers, S. A.


The use of synchrotron-based spectroscopy has revolutionized the way we look at matter. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) using linear and circular polarized light offers a powerful toolbox of element-specific structural, electronic, and magnetic probes that is especially well suited for complex materials containing several elements. We use the specific example of Zn1−xCoxO (Co:ZnO) to demonstrate the usefulness of combining these XAS techniques to unravel its intrinsic properties. We demonstrate that as long as phase separation or excessive defect formation is absent, Co:ZnO is paramagnetic. We can establish quantitative thresholds based on four reliable quality indicators using XAS; samples which show ferromagnet-like behaviour fail to meet these quality indicators, and complementary experimental techniques indeed prove phase separation. Careful analysis of XAS spectra is shown to provide quantitative information on the presence and type of dilute secondary phases in a highly sensitive, non-destructive manner.

  • Open Access Logo New Journal of Physics 12(2010), 013020


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