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Designing soft magnetic materials by ion irradiation

McCord, J.; Fassbender, J.


The control of the relevant magnetic material parameters like magnetic anisotropy, saturation magnetization as well as the dynamic magnetic properties in ferromagnetic thin films is of significant importance for applications in spin electronics. Commonly, the magnetic anisotropy in ferromagnetic single or multi-layers is initialized either by applying a magnetic field during film deposition or by annealing a magnetic field, which results in an anisotropy aligned along the applied field direction. Another important magnetic parameter, the saturation magnetization, is mainly determined by the film's composition.
We discuss novel ways of patterning magnetic films in terms of laterally varying magnetic properties. The difference of these hybrid property films with respect to conventional ferromagnetic systems is that the magnetic behaviour is strongly influenced by the direct exchange interaction across the regions of different magnetic behaviour. This makes them comparable to magnetic multilayer structures.
Different samples of anisotropy, exchange bias, and saturation magnetization [4] modulated thin films are prepared by local ion irradiation or implantation [1-5]. The magnetization reversal processes in the two-phase materials exhibit unique features, some of them so far only known from multilayer samples. The main emphasis of the presented work is on the role of the magnetic microstructure in stripe-like magnetic hybrid structures on the overall magnetization properties. Unique effects are derived from magnetic property measurements and magnetic domain imaging.
The presented paths of film preparations provide additional degrees of freedom for the tailoring of magnetic properties and functionality of soft-magnetic thin films. The presented methods allow for a local setting of magnetic properties without irreversible structural and magnetic alterations.

[1] J. Fassbender, J. McCord, Magnetic patterning by means of ion irradiation and implantation, J. Magn. Magn. Mat. 320, 579 (2008)
[2] J. McCord, I. Mönch, J. Fassbender, A. Gerber, E. Quandt, Local setting of magnetic anisotropy in amorphous films by Co ion implantation, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 42, 55006 (2009)
[3] J. McCord, L. Schultz, J. Fassbender, Hybrid soft-magnetic lateral exchange spring films prepared by ion irradiation, Adv. Mat. 20, 2009 (2008)
[4] N. Martin, J. McCord, A. gerber, T. Strache, T. Gemming, I. Mönch, N. Farag, R. Schäfer, J. Fassbender, E. Quandt, L. Schultz, Local stress engineering of magnetic anisotropy in soft magnetic thin films, Appl. Phys. Lett. 94, 62506 (2009)

Keywords: magnetism; ion irradiation; magnetic properties; material modification; patterning; microscopy

  • Invited lecture (Conferences)
    XVIII International Materials Research Congress, 16.-20.08.2009, Cancun, Mexiko


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