Preparation of thin ferrite films on silicon substrates

M. R. Koblischka, A. Koblischka-Veneva, V. Skumryev, U. Hartmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Thin-films of (Ni,Zn)Fe2O4 were grown by means of RF sputtering on Si (100) and (111) substrates. Films with a thickness up to 100 nm were prepared for analysis purposes, enabling the optimization of the sputter process. The purpose of these ferrite thin films is the preparation of MFM cantilever-coatings for use with a high-frequency magnetic force microscope (HF-MFM). As a basis for these probes, we employ commercial, micromachined silicon cantilevers which exhibit (100)-oriented Si surfaces on the shank, and (111)-oriented surfaces on the pyramid-like tip end. The substrates were not additionally heated during the evaporation. A slow cooling enabled the grain growth, so that grains of about 30 - 50 nm diameter were produced. Hysteresis loops of the (Ni,Zn)Fe2O4 films were obtained using a VSM magnetometer at room temperature. The films were found to exhibit the behaviour of a soft magnetic material, which is well suited for the HF-MFM imaging of harddisk recording heads up to a carrier frequency of 2 GHz. The material properties of the (Ni,Zn)Fe2O4 thin films are characterized by means of transmission electron microscopy (TEM). An electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) analysis of the individual grain orientations is carried out on this type of ferrite films. This enables a determination of the magnetization direction of individual grains, which contributes to the modelling of the tip properties. The current goal for further research is the preparation of even thinner ferrite coatings in order to maintain a small tip radius at the tip end of the cantilever, which is an important factor for the achievable spatial resolution of a MFM image.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMagnetic Thin Films
Subtitle of host publicationProperties, Performance and Applications
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781612093024
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Cantilevers
  • Ferrite thin films
  • MFM
  • Silicon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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