Scanning Microscopy


The scanning electron microscope with spin polarization analysis of secondary electrons has been proven to be a powerful tool for studying magnetic microstructures. Secondary electrons created at the surface of a ferromagnet are spin-polarized and contain information about the sample magnetization and its orientation. The combination of a spin polarization analyzer with a scanning electron microscope yields an unique apparatus for probing magnetic properties on a very small lateral scale. The magnetic resolution of < 40 nm is demonstrated. This type of microscope provides high magnetic contrast, while the surface morphology is strongly or even totally suppressed. The capability of studying magnetic properties of semi- infinite samples as well as in ultrathin films is demonstrated with a Fe(lOO) single crystal, video tape, CoCr perpendicular recording medium and ultrathin cobalt films.

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