Magnetic disorder in diluted FexM100-x granular thin films (M=Au, Ag, Cu; X < 10 at.%)

D. Alba Venero, L. Fernández Barquín, J. Alonso, M. L. Fdez-Gubieda, L. Rodríguez Fernández, R. Boada, J. Chaboy

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Nanogranular thin films of Fe7Au93, Fe7Ag93 and Fe9Cu91 have been sputtered onto Si(100) substrates with the aim of studying the magnetic interactions. X-ray diffraction shows a major noble metal matrix with broad peaks stemming from (111) textured fcc-Au, Ag and Cu. The noble metal forms a nanogranular environment, as confirmed by transmission electron microscopy, with mean particle sizes below 10 nm. The high magnetoresistance (>6%) reveals the existence of Fe nanoparticles. X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy confirms the presence of a bcc-Fe atom arrangement and some dissolved Fe atoms in the matrix, and XMCD shows the polarization of Au by the Fe nanoparticles. DC-magnetization displays a field-dependent irreversibility produced by the freezing of magnetic nanoparticles into a superspin-glass state. The hysteresis loops remain unsaturated at 5 K and 45 kOe. The coercivity displays a sharp temperature decrease towards a minimum below 50 K, levelling off at higher values, reaching Hc = 200 Oe at 300 K. Annealing of FeAu results in a double-peak zero field cooled magnetization and a slight decrease of the coercivity. The interpretation of the results supports the presence of Fe nanoparticles embedded in the major noble matrix, with some diluted Fe atoms/clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number276001
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2013

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