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Spin wave resonance in ferromagnetic films


Bajorek, Christopher H. (1972) Spin wave resonance in ferromagnetic films. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/9e70-r690.


The objective of this investigation has been a theoretical and experimental understanding of ferromagnetic resonance phenomena in ferromagnetic thin films, and a consequent understanding of several important physical properties of these films. Significant results have been obtained by ferromagnetic resonance, hysteresis, torque magnetometer, He ion backscattering, and X-ray fluorescence measurements for nickel-iron alloy films.

Taking into account all relevant magnetic fields, including the applied, demagnetizing, effective anisotropy and exchange fields, the spin wave resonance condition applicable to the thin film geometry is presented. On the basis of the simple exchange interaction model it is concluded that the normal resonance modes of an ideal film are expected to be unpinned. The possibility of nonideality near the surface of a real film was considered by means of surface anisotropy field, inhomogeneity in demagnetizing field and inhomogeneity of magnetization models. Numerical results obtained for reasonable parameters in all cases show that they negligibly perturb the resonance fields and the higher order mode shapes from those of the unpinned modes of ideal films for thicknesses greater than 1000 Å. On the other hand for films thinner than 1000 Å the resonance field deviations can be significant even though the modes are very nearly unpinned. A previously unnoticed but important feature of all three models is that the interpretation of the first resonance mode as the uniform mode of an ideal film allows an accurate measurement of the average effective demagnetizing field over the film volume. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that it is possible to choose parameters which give indistinguishable predictions for all three models, making it difficult to uniquely ascertain the source of spin pinning in real films from resonance measurements alone.

Spin wave resonance measurements of 81% Ni-19% Fe coevaporated films 30 to 9000 Å thick, at frequencies from 1 to 8 GHz, at room temperature, and with the static magnetic field parallel and perpendicular to the film plane have been performed. A self-consistent analysis of the results for films thicker than 1000 Å, in which multiple excitations can be observed, shows for the first time that a unique value of exchange constant A can only be obtained by the use of unpinned mode assignments. This evidence and the resonance behavior of films thinner than 1000 Å strongly imply that the magnetization at the surfaces of permalloy films is very weakly pinned. However, resonance measurements alone cannot determine whether this pinning is due to a surface anisotropy, an inhomogeneous demagnetizing field or an inhomogeneous magnetization. The above analysis yields a value of 4πM=10,100 Oe and A = (1.03 ± .05) x 10-6 erg/cm for this alloy. The ability to obtain a unique value of A suggests that spin wave resonance can be used to accurately characterize the exchange interaction in a ferromagnet.

In an effort to resolve the ambiguity of the source of pinning of the magnetization, a correlation of the ratio of magnetic moment and X-ray film thickness with the value of effective demagnetizing field 4πNM as determined from resonance, for films 45 to 300 Å has been performed. The remarkable agreement of both quantities and a comparison with the predictions of five distinct models, strongly imply that the thickness dependence of both quantities is related to a thickness dependent average saturation magnetization, which is far below 10,100 Oe for very thin films. However, a series of complementary experiments shows that this large decrease of average saturation magnetization cannot be simply explained by either oxidation or interdiffusion processes. It can only be satisfactorily explained by an intrinsic decrease of the average saturation magnetization for very thin films, an effect which cannot be justified by any simple physical considerations.

Recognizing that this decrease of average saturation magnetization could be due to an oxidation process, a correlation of resonance measurements, He ion backscattering, X-ray fluorescence and torque magnetometer measurements, for films 40 to 3500 Å thick has been performed. On basis of these measurements it is unambiguously established that the oxide layer on the surface of purposefully oxidized 81% Ni-19% Fe evaporated films is predominantly Fe-oxide, and that in the oxidation process Fe atoms are removed from the bulk of the film to depths of thousands of angstroms. Extrapolation of results for pure Fe films indicates that the oxide is most likely α-Fe2O3. These conclusions are in agreement with results from old metallurgical studies of high temperature oxidation of bulk Fe and Ni-Fe alloys. However, X-ray fluorescence results for films oxidized at room temperature, show that although the preferential oxidation of Fe also takes place in these films, the extent of this process is by far too small to explain the large variation of their average saturation magnetization with film thickness.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Electrical Engineering
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Electrical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Wilts, Charles H. (advisor)
  • Humphrey, Floyd Bernard (advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:25 June 1971
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Tektronix FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Fairchild FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04042016-091637939
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9644
Deposited On:04 Apr 2016 18:19
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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