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Title: Time resolved and time average imaging of magnetic nano-structures
Author: Burgos Parra, Erick Omar
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 3495
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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The ability of a ferromagnet to maintain its magnetic state in the absence of an external magnetic field has made ferromagnetic materials an important subject of study in physics since the end of the 19th century. Moreover, ferromagnetic materials are the cornerstone for data storage systems such as magnetic tapes, magnetic disk drives and magnetic random access memory. The discovery of the Giant Magneto Resistance (GMR) in 1988 suggested that, since the magnetic state of the electrical conductor has an important effect upon the current flow, there may also be an inverse influence of the current upon the magnetization. In this effect, predicted in 1989 [1] by Slonczewski and called Spin Transfer Torque, angular momentum transferred by a spin polarized current can exert a torque on the magnetization of a ferromagnetic material, changing the local magnetization and stimulating the precession of the magnetic moments, generating microwave signals. This provides a new method of manipulating magnetization without applying an external field. Large polarized currents lead to spin transfer effects which are the driving force for the magnetic dynamics of devices known as Spin Transfer Oscillators (STO). In this new kind of nano-device the emission of microwaves is stimulated by a DC electrical current and measured as a change in the output voltage due the GMR effect. The specific characteristics of these devices such as working frequency and DC current ranges, microwave emission linewidth, and maximum emission power among others, are given by the design and size of the device,and the nature of the magnetic oscillations producing the emission. Among the multiple types of STO that now exist , I have focused my research upon three of them: Spin Transfer Vortex Oscillators (STVO), Single Layer Spin Transfer Oscillators (SL-STO) and Orthogonal Pseudo Spin Valves. Within STVOs and SL-STOs we can nucleate what is called a magnetic vortex. A magnetic vortex is a curling of the in-plane of a magnetic layer with its centre pointing out of the magnetization plane. The gyration of this vortex due to STT produces a microwave emission < 1GHz with a greater emission power than that produced by the precession of magnetic moments in STOs. The phase-locked synchronisation of multiple vortices is expected to exhibit enhanced microwaved power and phase stability compared to a single vortex device, providing a solution to the drawbacks of the STO in the low frequency regime. On the other hand, Orthogonal Pseudo Spin Valves promote the nucleation of magnetic dissipative solitons, also called magnetic droplets. This type of magnetic structure has an opposite out of plane magnetization to the layer that contains it. Compared to the microwave emission of magnetic vortices , magnetic droplets have a higher frequency range and emission power. However, their nucleation is subject to large external fields being applied to the sample. In this thesis, I electrically characterized these devices and applied magnetic imaging techniques in order to go further in the understanding of the spatial features and dynamic behaviour of these magnetic structures. It is not possible to acquire this knowledge by only using electrical characterization. Understanding the magnetization dynamics in these devices is crucial for the design of STO based devices while imaging studies are required to prove the existence of these magnetic structures, as in case of the magnetic droplet. In chapter 2 I will introduce the background concepts of magnetism that are relevant to this thesis. I will go from the basics principles of ferromagnetism, its quantum mechanical treatment, and the theory that explain the dynamics of the magnetisation. I will also present the state of the art in experimental research in the field of spin transfer oscillators. My aim is to give the basic background needed to understand the results presented in this thesis. In chapter 3 I will introduce the two main experimental techniques used for imaging the magnetisation of the devices presented: Holography with Extended Reference by Autocorrelation Linear Differential Operator (HERALDO) and Time Resolved Scanning Kerr Microscopy (TRSKM). I will revise the theoretical background concepts and the development of the techniques in order to demostrate the uniqueness of each technique and how they were used in this thesis. It is interesting to note that while MOKE is a well-known and widely-used technique, far fewer laboratories in the world area able to perform time resolved measurements using MOKE, with the University of Exeter being one of them. Furthermore, HERALDO is a novel technique that is used for the first time to image magnetic structures within multilayer systems in this thesis, which is a milestone in the development of the techinque. In chapter 4 I present an investigation of the magnetization dynamics of a SL-STO. Electrical transport measurements provided an initial characterization of the device. We then used HERALDO for the first time to investigate the magnetization dynamics in an intermediate layer of a multilayer stack. We present time averaged measurements of the magnetisation of a magnetic vortex formed underneath a nano contact (NC) positioned on top of the multilayer, using a combination of x-ray holography and x-ray magnetic circular dichroism. In chapter 5 I present the first direct measurement at the time of a magnetic dissipative droplet, using holography with extended reference autocorrelation by linear differential operator (HERALDO). I studied the out of plane magnetisation of the free layer under a NC within an orthogonal pseudo spin salve. In chapter 6 I present and study STVO devices with pairs of NCs of 100 nm diameter and centre-to-centre separation D = 200 to 1100 nm, by a combination of electrical measurements and time-resolved scanning Kerr microscopy (TRSKM). It will be shown that the dynamic behaviour of vortices and anti vortices changes when the distances between the NCs within the devices is changed.
Supervisor: Hicken, Robert J. ; Ogrin, Feodor Sponsor: EPSRC ; CONICYT-Becas Chile
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: X-rays ; holography ; magnetic structures ; Magnetic soliton ; Magnetic vortex ; Kerr Effect ; HERALDO ; TRSKM ; magnetism