PhD Dissertation Defense

Studies of Ultra-thin Magnetic Films for Advanced Storage Applications

Ryan Sears
Physics Department
University of Connecticut

Ultra-thin magnetic films have been explored extensively to understand how their properties differ from those of the bulk. Additionally, a new generation of electronic devices that use the spin of the electron instead of its charge as a means of manipulating information has recently emerged, giving new precedent for these studies. These so called “spintronic” devices exploit effects like tunneling magneto-resistance (TMR) and exchange anisotropy in magnetic thin-film heterostructures. For a thorough understanding of these effects and the physics of magnetic thin films, the local chemical and magnetic environment near the surfaces and interfaces of these films needs to be known. In this talk, I will discuss studies that investigate ultra-thin magnetic films using various electron spectroscopy techniques with that necessity in mind. In particular, we will explore how the local magnetic properties relate to the macroscopic properties (like TMR and exchange anisotropy) of thin film heterostructures. Studies of the spin-polarization of ferromagnet/AlOx bilayers and exchange anisotropy in Fe films exchange biased by NiO/CoO underlayers will be discussed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
2:00 PM
Gant Science Complex
Physics Department
Room P121

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