Understanding nanomagnetic materials using neutron and x-ray scattering

Project description

Neutron and x-ray scattering using the brilliant sources and high resolution instruments available large facilities have opened an exciting new world of discovery not available from laboratory based instrumentation. The aim of this project is to develop an understanding of how ferromagnetic ordering is modified as the size of the magnetic particles/islands/grains is reduced to a few nanometers. This is a key challenge in realizing real, technologically useful nanomagnetic materials for spintronics and data storage. At the nanoscale it is critical to determine the relationship between structure and magnetic properties as non-uniformities, segregation and grain boundaries have a profound effect on material and device functionality1.
In order to develop this understanding a wide range of experimental techniques will be used both to create appropriate samples and then to measure their nanoscale structural and magnetic. Since this project addresses a critical challenge in moving forward the science and technology of magnetic materials, we expect that there will be opportunities to work with the data storage industry within our existing collaborations.Specifically the project will involve:
-Analysis of existing small angle neutron and x-ray scattering data to determine both the atomic and magnetic structure at the nanometer length scale
- Creation of novel multiple layer magnetic materials by sputtering using both our existing remote plasma system and a new dc magnetron system.
-Large scale facility measurements at the Diamond light source, ISIS neutron scattering facility and the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland to simultaneous determination of structural and magnetic properties using small angle x-ray (SAXS) and small angle neutron scattering (SANS).
-Determination of macroscopic magnetic properties using a variety of techniques including Vibrating sample magnetometry, Magneto-Optic Kerr Effect and Magnetic Force Microscopy.

In short the research work in this project will make a leading-edge contribution to understanding the fundamental physics of nanoscale magnetism in materials and systems that are likely to be key technology components in future devices.

1S.J. Lister et al. APL 97 (2010) 112503

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