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We report the magnetic behaviors of Fe3O4 thin films grown by zero field growth (ZFG) and field growth (FG) techniques during the sputtering process. In FG conditions, an in situ 300 Oe field during growth is applied to a substrate, inducing an easy axis of magnetization. Structural observations obtained by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy measurements clearly depicted a significant reduction of the grain boundaries and voids in the Fe3O4 films grown under FG conditions, thus explaining the saturated magnetization of the Fe3O4 films at about 0.01 T. This behavior was expected due to a remarkable reduction of the antiferromagnetic exchange couplings between grains for FG conditions. In addition, the zero-field-cooled magnetization of the ZFG samples showed an abrupt change at about 285 K, confirming the existence of defects or other phases in the ZFG films.
Date of Publication: May 2006