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Asymmetric grazing incidence small angle x-ray scattering and anisotropic domain wall motion in obliquely grown nanocrystalline Co films

AutorQuirós, Carlos ; Díaz, Javier; Alija, Alejandro ; Blanco-Roldán, C.; Vélez, María ; Alameda, J. M.
Fecha de publicación2014
EditorInstitute of Physics Publishing
CitaciónNanotechnology 25(33): 335704 (2014)
ResumenStrong asymmetries have been observed in grazing incidence small angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS) in situ patterns obtained from 30 nm-thick nanocrystalline Co films prepared by oblique sputtering (15°-75° off-sample normal). These asymmetries have been qualitatively simulated by a simple model consisting of an ensemble of 8 nm-wide inclined Co nanocolumns. It is found that narrow inclined features appear in the diffuse background resembling those characteristic of faceted systems, which can be used to obtain straightforward non-destructive estimations of buried nanocolumnar grains inclination, even for oblique angles below 45°, when the stronger and broader asymmetric features of the pattern are not yet fully formed. Furthermore, using magneto-optical microscopy, a marked change in the magnetic domain's nucleation and growth process has been observed in the sample prepared at 75°, with the stronger GISAXS asymmetries. Easy axis magnetization reversal starts by a random and homogeneous nucleation of small (∼μm) elongated domains aligned with the nanocolumn's long axis and proceeds through the preferred propagation of head-to-head domain walls (DWs) along the applied field direction. This peculiar magnetic behavior indicates that the strongly anisotropic nanostructuring created by the oblique growth process is equivalent, from a magnetic point of view, to an array of self-assembled buried nanowires. These results show how GISAXS and magneto-optical microscopy can be combined as a powerful tool for correlating the morphology and magnetism of thin nanostructured systems. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.
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Identificadoresdoi: 10.1088/0957-4484/25/33/335704
issn: 0957-4484
e-issn: 1361-6528
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