Annealing induced low coercivity, nanocrystalline Co-Fe-Si thin films exhibiting inverse cosine angular variation

T. Hysen, Salim Al-Harthi, I. A. Al-Omari, P. Geethaa, R. Lisha, R. V. Ramanujan, D. Sakthikumar, M. R. Anantharaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Co-Fe-Si based films exhibit high magnetic moments and are highly sought after for applications like soft under layers in perpendicular recording media to magneto-electro-mechanical sensor applications. In this work the effect of annealing on structural, morphological and magnetic properties of Co-Fe-Si thin films was investigated. Compositional analysis using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and secondary ion mass spectroscopy revealed a native oxide surface layer consisting of oxides of Co, Fe and Si on the surface. The morphology of the as deposited films shows mound like structures conforming to the Volmer-Weber growth model. Nanocrystallisation of amorphous films upon annealing was observed by glancing angle X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. The evolution of magnetic properties with annealing is explained using the Herzer model. Vibrating sample magnetometry measurements carried out at various angles from 0 to 90 to the applied magnetic field were employed to study the angular variation of coercivity. The angular variation fits the modified Kondorsky model. Interestingly, the coercivity evolution with annealing deduced from magneto-optical Kerr effect studies indicates a reverse trend compared to magetisation observed in the bulk. This can be attributed to a domain wall pinning at native oxide layer on the surface of thin films. The evolution of surface magnetic properties is correlated with morphology evolution probed using atomic force microscopy. The morphology as well as the presence of the native oxide layer dictates the surface magnetic properties and this is corroborated by the apparent difference in the bulk and surface magnetic properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-172
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials
Volume341
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Coercivity
  • Kondorsky
  • Magnetic thin film
  • PSD
  • Surface magnetism
  • Surface morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

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