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Structural and magnetic properties of FexC1-x nanocomposite thin films

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5 Author(s)
Babonneau, D. ; Unité Mixte de Physique CNRS/Thomson–CSF, UMR 137 CNRS, Laboratoire Central de Recherches, Domaine de Corbeville, 91404 Orsay Cedex, France ; Briatico, J. ; Petroff, F. ; Cabioch, T.
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Iron–carbon nanocomposite thin films with iron concentrations ranging from 12 to 74 at. % were grown by ion-beam sputtering codeposition at different substrate temperatures. The microstructure of the films was characterized by transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, extended x-ray absorption fine structure, and grazing incidence small-angle x-ray scattering. A granular morphology consisting of body-centered-cubic iron-rich nanoparticles (2–5 nm in diameter and 3–8 nm in height with a relatively sharp size distribution) regularly distributed within a more or less graphitic matrix was obtained. Structural properties as well as magnetic ones were found to depend strongly on composition, substrate temperature, and postdeposition treatments (annealing or Ar+ irradiation). The temperature dependence of the susceptibility exhibited a superparamagnetic response with blocking temperature in the range of 13–180 K. The maximum low-temperature (5 K) coercivity value obtained in this study was 850 Oe for the film with the lowest iron content (x=0.12). The saturation magnetization was found to be reduced compared to the corresponding bulk value for pure α-Fe, and increased with increasing substrate temperature. Otherwise, when increasing the iron content, a decrease in coercivity was observed in correlation with an increase in remanent magnetization. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.

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Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:87 ,  Issue: 7 )