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Structure and Magnetic Properties of hcp and fcc Nanocrystalline Thin Ni Films and Nanoparticles Produced by Radio Frequency Magnetron Sputtering

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We report on the growth of thin Ni films by radio frequency magnetron sputtering in Ar-plasma. The growth temperature was about 350 K and the films were deposited on various substrates such as glass, silicon, sapphire and alumina. The thickness of the thinnest films was estimated by the appearance of Kiessig fringes up to about 2 = 8° in the small-angle X-ray diffraction pattern, as expected for high-quality atomically-flat thin films. With the help of this, a quartz balance system was calibrated and used for measuring the thickness of thicker samples with an accuracy of better than 5%. Structural characterization via X-ray diffraction and high resolution transmission electron microscopy revealed an Ar-gas pressure window, where single phase hcp Ni films may be grown. The magnetic response of the Ni films was checked at room temperature via a newly established and fully automatic polar magneto-optic Kerr effect magnetometer. The hcp films show no magnetic response. Interestingly, the magnetic saturation field of fcc films deposited at low Ar pressure is comparable to the one of bulk Ni, while the one of fcc films deposited at high Ar pressures is decreased, revealing the presence of residual strain in the films. Finally, it is shown that it is possible to form films which contain magnetic Ni fcc nanoparticles in a non-magnetic hcp matrix, i.e., a system interesting for technological applications demanding a single Ni target for its production.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2010

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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