Electronic structures of MgO/Fe interfaces with perpendicular magnetization revealed by hard X-ray photoemission with an applied magnetic field

Shigenori Ueda, Masaki Mizuguchi, Masahito Tsujikawa, Masafumi Shirai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have developed hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HAXPES) under an applied magnetic field of 1 kOe to study the electronic and magnetic states related to the MgO/Fe interface-induced perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA). In this work, we used MgO (2 nm)/Fe (1.5 and 20 nm)/MgO(001) structures to reveal the interface-induced electronic states of the Fe film. Perpendicular magnetization of the 1.5-nm-thick Fe film without extrinsic oxidation of the Fe film was detected by the Fe 2p core-level magnetic circular dichroism (MCD) in HAXPES under a magnetic field, and easy magnetization axis perpendicular to the film plane was confirmed by ex situ magnetic hysteresis measurements. The valence-band HAXPES spectrum of the 1.5-nm-thick Fe film revealed that the Fe 3d electronic states were strongly modified from the thick Fe film and a reference bulk Fe sample due to the lifting of degeneracy in the Fe 3d states near the MgO/Fe interface. We found that the tetragonal distortion of the Fe film by the MgO substrate also contributes to the lifting of degeneracy in the Fe 3d states and PMA, as well as the Fe 3d-O 2p hybridization at the MgO/Fe interface, by comparing the valence-band spectrum with density functional theory calculations for MgO/Fe multilayer structures. Thus, we can conclude that the Fe 3d-O 2p hybridization and tetragonal distortion of the Fe film play important roles in PMA at the MgO/Fe interface. HAXPES with in situ magnetization thus represents a powerful new method for studying spintronic structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-804
Number of pages9
JournalScience and Technology of Advanced Materials
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 31

Keywords

  • 203 Magnetics / Spintronics / Superconductors
  • 212 Surface and interfaces
  • 40 Optical
  • 502 Electron spectroscopy
  • Electronic structures
  • HAXPES under a magnetic field
  • MgO/Fe interface
  • hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HAXPES)
  • interface-induced PMA
  • magnetic and electronic device materials
  • perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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