Research ArticleMATERIALS SCIENCE

Resonant nanodiffraction x-ray imaging reveals role of magnetic domains in complex oxide spin caloritronics

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Science Advances  02 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 40, eaba9351
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba9351

Abstract

Spin electronic devices based on crystalline oxide layers with nanoscale thicknesses involve complex structural and magnetic phenomena, including magnetic domains and the coupling of the magnetism to elastic and plastic crystallographic distortion. The magnetism of buried nanoscale layers has a substantial impact on spincaloritronic devices incorporating garnets and other oxides exhibiting the spin Seebeck effect (SSE). Synchrotron hard x-ray nanobeam diffraction techniques combine structural, elemental, and magnetic sensitivity and allow the magnetic domain configuration and structural distortion to be probed in buried layers simultaneously. Resonant scattering at the Gd L2 edge of Gd3Fe5O12 layers yields magnetic contrast with both linear and circular incident x-ray polarization. Domain patterns facet to form low-energy domain wall orientations but also are coupled to elastic features linked to epitaxial growth. Nanobeam magnetic diffraction images reveal diverse magnetic microstructure within emerging SSE materials and a strong coupling of the magnetism to crystallographic distortion.

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