Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Physics

Major Professor

Hariharan Srikanth, Ph.D.

Keywords

Transverse susceptibility, Magnetic nanoparticles, Multilayer thin films, Exchange bias, Magnetic anistropy

Abstract

Nanostructured systems composed of two or more technologically important materials are useful for device applications and intriguing for the new fundamental physics they may display. Magnetism at the nanoscale is dominated by size and surface effects which combined with other media lead to new spin dynamics and interfacial coupling phenomena. These new properties may prove to be useful for optimizing sensors and devices, increasing storage density for magnetic media, as well as for biomedical applications such as drug delivery, MRI contrast enhancement, and hyperthermia treatment for cancer. In this project we have examined the surface and interface magnetism of composite nanoparticles and multilayer thin films by using conventional DC magnetization and AC susceptibility as well as transverse susceptibility, a method for directly probing the magnetic anisotropy of materials.

Au and Fe3O4 synthesized together into three different nanoparticle configurations and ranging in size for 60 nm down to 9nm are used to study how the size, shape, and interfaces affect the most fundamental properties of magnetism in the Au-Fe3O4 system. The findings have revealed ways in which the magnetic properties can be enhanced by tuning these parameters. We have shown that by changing the configurations of the Au and Fe3O4 particles, exotic behavior can be observed such as a large increase in anisotropy field (H[subscript]K ranging from 435 Oe to 1650 Oe) and the presence of exchange bias. Multilayer thin films have been studied as well which combine the important classes of ferromagnetic and ferroelectric materials. In one case, barium hexaferrite/barium strontium titanate thin films, the anisotropic behavior of the ferromagnet is shown to change due to the introduction of the secondary material.

In the other example, CrO2/Cr2O3 bilayers, exchange coupling is observed as Cr2O3 is an antiferromagnet as well as a ferroelectric. This coupling is manifest as a uniaxial anisotropy rather than the unidirectional anisotropy associated with exchange biased bilayers. Not only will such multifunctional structures will be useful for technological applications, but the materials properties and configurations can be chosen and tuned to further enhance the desired functional properties.

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