When the surface energy of bottom layer is lower than top layer, the atoms of bottom layer should be pumped up at the triple point of the grain boundary. This phenomenon should be useful for the fabrication of well-defined nanobridge. To confirm the Atom Pumping-Up mechanism for metal/metal thin films, Ta(2 nm) on epitaxial MgO(001)/Fe(001) films were prepared by the electron beam deposition method. The Pumping-Up mechanism was successfully confirmed by the Auger Electron Spectroscopy, the in situ Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, and the Transmission Electron Microscope observation after heat treatment of 400°C × 30 min. The size of the Fe bridges was 2-5 nm. Furthermore, the magnetic exchange coupling effect on the magnetization process through the ferromagnetic bridges between two Fe layers in MgO/Fe/Ta/Fe after Atom Pumping-Up shows a good agreement to the micromagnetics simulation result from the assumption of ferromagnetic bridges with the size of 1-4 nm.
- Exchange coupling
- Ferromagnetic nanobridge
- Nano-oxide layer
- Surface energy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering