X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy on Nano-Magnet Arrays and Thin Films : Magnetism and Structure

Abstract: The magnetic and structural properties of nano magnet arrays and ferromagnetic thin films are investigated. Circular x-rays are used and extensive use is made in this Thesis of the X-ray Magnetic Circular Dichroism (XMCD) technique. By means of the XMCD magneto-optic sum rules the values of the orbital and spin moments are determined. In the case of the nano magnet arrays studied, the XMCD technique is used in a spatially resolved mode using Photo Electron Emission Microscopy (PEEM) after circular light excitation. The Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS) is studied in both the Co K- and L-edges. In situ Co L-edge X-ray XMCD spectroscopy measurements are presented, in combination with spectro-microscopy results, on Co/Pt and Co/Au based nano-dot arrays, of typical dot lateral size 250×100 nm2, on self organized Si0.5Ge0.5. The Co is only a few atomic layers thick. The dot arrays display a high degree of lateral order and the individual dots, in several cases, exhibit a stable magnetic moment at 300 K. It is found possible to characterize the spin reorientation of these dot arrays. For both systems the in- versus out-of-plane orbital moment anisotropy, is not always related with an out-of-plane magnetization and the occurrence of a spin reorientation. By performing Co K-edge EXAFS measurements the local atomic structure around the Co atoms is characterized. The feasibility of a high precision quantitative structural analysis of L-EXAFS is studied on the system Au/Co/Au/W(110). The spin reorientation transition is studied as a function of the Co thickness and Au cap thickness. The L-edge EXAFS indicates that this reorientation is correlated to a lattice expansion in the perpendicular direction. High precision angle dependent XMCD work is performed on a high temperature exchange bias system. Pinned or frozen magnetic moments are studied within an exchange biased NiFe ferromagnet at the NiFe/FeMn, ferromagnet/antiferromagnet interface by XMCD and complemented by x-ray resonant reflectivity experiments, at the Ni, Fe and Mn L-edges. The Mn L-edge XMCD MnSb and of (Ga, Mn)As layers modified by high temperature annealing is studied. For MnSb an enhanced value is obtained versus theoretical calculations. This result can be explained by means of the enhanced surface to volume ratio for the samples studied. For (Ga, Mn)As differences are found in the local environment of the Mn atoms upon annealing.