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Studies of magnetic domain distributions in patterned magnetic materials are of pivotal importance in the areas of ultrahigh density magnetic recording, MRAM design, and miniaturized magnetic sensor arrays. Scanning ion microscopy with polarization analysis (SIMPA) is used to perform in situ topographic and magnetic domain imaging and focused ion beam (FIB) patterning. For FIB-patterned 30 nm thick Co films, it is found that rectangular Co bars of sizes between 10–30 μm exhibit S type, whereas circular shaped magnetic elements show C type micromagnetic magnetization patterns. It is shown that SIMPA provides a simple way to directly identify different micromagnetic domain patterns. © 2004 American Institute of Physics.