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A multiscale correlation of the structural and magnetic properties of complex metal oxide thin film composites


Oxide coated iron composites show promise for use in novel induction core and spintronics designs because of their high electrical resistance, thermal stability, and enhanced magnetic flux carrying capability. We have studied iron-oxide thin film interfaces of varying chemistries and thicknesses grown using electron beam deposition. A combination of high resolution atomic and magnetic characterization techniques have allowed us to identify a promising class of coatings, including magnesium oxide and various ferrites. Using scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, local-electrode atom probe microscopy, as well as bulk magnetic measurements and neutron reflectivity, we have correlated microstructure and magnetic order at the iron-oxide interface. Measurements conducted over a range of length scales illustrate the complex relationship between growth conditions, chemistry, and the resulting magnetization, coercivity, and saturation induction of the composites. A fundamental understanding of these coatings will pave the way for tunable control of magnetic properties through microstructure modification.