Magnetic force microscopy study of magnetic stripe domains in sputter deposited Permalloy thin films

Nissim Amos, Robert Fernandez, Rabee Ikkawi, Beomseop Lee, Andrey Lavrenov, Alexander Krichevsky, Dmitri Litvinov, Sakhrat Khizroev

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70 Scopus citations


A magnetic force microscopy based study on the formation of stripe domains in Permalloy (Ni80 Fe20) thin films is presented. Our results show that the critical thickness for stripe domain initiation depended on the sputtering rate, the substrate temperature, and the film thickness. Beyond the stripe domain formation, an increase of the period of a highly ordered array of stripe domains was evident with increasing film thickness. Thin films sputtered at room temperature with thickness variation between ∼80 and ∼350 nm exhibited square-root growth dependency on stripe domains periodicity from ∼150 to ∼380 nm, respectively. Above a certain thickness, the domain period decreased and the periodicity deteriorated with the array becoming more random, which is a strong indicator of relatively high structural perpendicular anisotropy. To illustrate, Permalloy sputtered at 100 °C initially showed linear dependence in stripe domain periodicity growth up until ∼650 nm thick films. The magnetic stripe domain structure began breaking down for thicker Permalloy films. Our data also suggested that the perpendicular anisotropy responsible for the formation of stripe domains might have resulted from strain-caused magnetostriction and the thin-film microstructure shape effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number07E732
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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