Surface Review and Letters

Principles of x-ray magnetic dichroism spectromicroscopy

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A review is given of the principles underlying X-ray magnetic circular (XMCD) and linear (XMLD) dichroism spectromicroscopies consisting of polarized X-ray absorption spectroscopy in conjunction with scanning or imaging microscopy. The techniques are shown to have many useful and important capabilities for the study of complex magnetic materials. They offer elemental specificity, chemical specificity and variable depth sensitivity, among others. XMCD microscopy is best suited for the study of ferromagnets and ferrimagnets, and it allows a quantitative determination of the size and direction of spin and orbital moments. XMLD microscopy promises to become a powerful tool for the study of antiferromagnets which are difficult to study by conventional microscopy techniques.