MRS Spring Meeting 1993
Conference paper

Preparation and in-situ surface analysis of MNFE/NIFE exchange structures: interfacial impurity incorporation


MnFe/NiFe exchange structures have been prepared in an ultra-high vacuum sputtering/surface analysis system. Controlled introduction of residual gas impurities such as O2 and H2O at the MnFe/NiFe interface is studied by in-situ x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and the exchange structures are magnetically characterized. Due to the extreme reactivity of the NiFe surface towards O2 the exchange coupling is severely degraded by only small exposures of this molecule to the NiFe surface. In contrast, H2O does not oxidize the NiFe surface and therefore can be tolerated in greater quantities in the sputtering chamber without detrimental loss of exchange. This understanding of the basic surface chemistry of the MnFe and NiFe surfaces can lead to improved sputtering practices in actual manufacturing applications.