Observation of magnetic dead layers at the surface of iron oxide films

Parkin, S. S. P.; Sigsbee, R.; Felici, R.; Felcher, G. P.
March 1986
Applied Physics Letters;3/3/1986, Vol. 48 Issue 9, p604
Academic Journal
Depth profiles of the magnetization of sputtered films of Fe3O4 and its oxidized form, γ-Fe2O3, were obtained by the new polarized neutron reflection technique. We find that the magnetization of Fe3O4 is constant throughout the thickness (2600 Å) of the film except for a surface region about 25 Å deep corresponding to the surface roughness. In contrast the oxidized sample shows a magnetically dead layer ∼150 Å thick at the surface. X-ray and transmission electron microscopy studies give no evidence that the surface layers differ structurally from the bulk of the film, although there is the possibility of a highly defective surface region formed during the oxidation process.


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