Nanocrystalline Fe-Ni thin films were prepared by partial crystallization of vapour deposited amorphous precursors. The microstructure was controlled by annealing the films at different temperatures. X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy investigations showed that the nanocrystalline phase was that of Fe-Ni. Grain growth was observed with an increase in the annealing temperature. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy observations showed the presence of a native oxide layer on the surface of the films. Scanning tunnelling microscopy investigations support the biphasic nature of the nanocrystalline microstructure that consists of a crystalline phase along with an amorphous phase. Magnetic studies using a vibrating sample magnetometer show that coercivity has a strong dependence on grain size. This is attributed to the random magnetic anisotropy characteristic of the system. The observed coercivity dependence on the grain size is explained using a modified random anisotropy model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)