Investigation of magnetization structures in ferromagnetic and superconducting samples by magnetic force microscopy

Schendel, Petrus J. A. van. Investigation of magnetization structures in ferromagnetic and superconducting samples by magnetic force microscopy. 1999, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.


Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_5222

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Even though the phenomenon of magnetic ordering in solids was already known to the
ancient Greek, the microscopic understanding of why certain materials show magnetic
order dates from this century. In particular, even though some form of magnetic domains
was already expected by Weiss when he formulated his theory of Ferromagnetic
ordering in 1907, direct experimental evidence of their existence was only provided
in 1931 by measurements of v. Hámod and Thiessen and Bitter. In these experiments,
the domain structure was determined by the imaging of small magnetic particles
that decorate regions with high magnetic stray fields. This decoration is due to the interaction
force between these particles and the sample stray field. Interestingly enough,
the reason why the domains were formed was still unclear, and was only clarified in
1935 by Landau and Lifschitz.
The phenomenon of Superconductivity on the other hand, was discovered much
more recently in 1911 by Kamerlingh Onnes. After its discovery, it took until 1933, when
Meissner and Ochsenfeld found that superconductors are ideal diamagnets, repelling
the magnetic flux from their inside, even if the field is applied before the superconductor
becomes superconductive. Again, the existence of domains was first predicted from the
theory published by Landau in 1937, but it took until the fifties before the first magnetic
flux structures in superconductors were imaged, again using the decoration technique.
Thus, even though the theoretical understanding of the domains in ferromagnets
and superconductors evolved almost simultaneously, the first direct observation of the
latter took 23 years longer, which was probably due to the experimental diffculties of
studying superconductors.
Magnetic force microscopy (MFM) is a relatively new technique for imaging these
magnetization structures. It combines the properties of the decoration technique (the
contrast formation is due the magnetic interaction between the stray field of the sample
and a small magnetic particle) with the properties of the scanning force microscopy
technique developed by Binnig, Quate and Gerber (measuring the interaction be-
tween the particle and the sample as a function of position through the deflection of
a cantilever beam). The first MFM measurements were made on ferromagnets.
Again, the first observation of magnetization structures in superconductors took somewhat
longer, until 1994. Nowadays with time and effort, the experimental diffculties
of working with MFM at low temperatures have been diminished by the development of
better instruments and improved measurement methods. The measurements presented
in this thesis were made with such an instrument, the design of which is discussed in
chapter 2.
Compared to other types of magnetic imaging,2 the advantages of the MFM technique
are a high spatial resolution imaging and relatively low requirements for sample
preparation. Another, unique property of the MFM is that it can be used as a tool for
determining the response of the sample to a local applied field and for modifying the
sample. One of the main disadvantages of the MFM until now has been the diffculty
to interpret the measured signal. In recent years, the improvement in the quality of
the instrument and the subsequent improvement of the measurement quality has allowed
the development of procedures that allow the quantitative interpretation of the
measured contrast. The methods developed for quantitative evaluation of the MFM
measurements as part of this thesis-work are described in more detail in chapter 3.
The application of the MFM method to the analysis of ferromagnetic materials is
described in chapter 4. A point of interest in the research of these materials is the
influence of the interfaces between ferromagnetic and other materials on the magnetic
properties of the sample. Here, this influence was studied using Cu/Ni/Cu/Si(001)
sandwich structures, because they show a particularly interesting dependence of the
preferred orientation of the magnetization on the thickness of the nickel layer.
Finally, the application of the MFM method to the study of superconductors is
described in chapter 5. In addition to the imaging of the magnetic structures occurring
in the superconductor, the use of the MFM to study the response of the superconductor
to a local applied field is discussed.
Advisors:Güntherodt, Hans-Joachim
Committee Members:Meyer, Ernst
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Physik > Former Organization Units Physics > Experimentelle Physik (Güntherodt)
UniBasel Contributors:Güntherodt, Hans-Joachim and Meyer, Ernst
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:5222
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:84
Identification Number:
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:22 Apr 2018 04:30
Deposited On:13 Feb 2009 14:34

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