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Title: Structural phase diagram for ultra-thin epitaxial Fe3O4 / MgO(0 01) films: thickness and oxygen pressure dependence

A systematic investigation of the thickness and oxygen pressure dependence for the structural properties of ultra-thin epitaxial magnetite (Fe3O4) films has been carried out; for such films, the structural properties generally differ from those for the bulk when the thickness ≤10 nm. Iron oxide ultra-thin films with thicknesses varying from 3 nm to 20 nm were grown on MgO (001) substrates using molecular beam epitaxy under different oxygen pressures ranging from 1 × 10-7 torr to 1 × 10-5 torr. The crystallographic and electronic structures of the films were characterized using low energy electron diffraction (LEED) and x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), respectively. Moreover, the quality of the epitaxial Fe3O4 ultra-thin films was judged by magnetic measurements of the Verwey transition, along with complementary XPS spectra. We observed that under the same growth conditions the stoichiometry of ultra-thin films under 10 nm transforms from the Fe3O4 phase to the FeO phase. In this work, a phase diagram based on thickness and oxygen pressure has been constructed to explain the structural phase transformation. It was found that high-quality magnetite films with thicknesses ≤20 nm formed within a narrow range of oxygen pressure. An optimal and controlled growth process is a crucial requirementmore » for the accurate study of the magnetic and electronic properties for ultra-thin Fe3O4 films. Furthermore, these results are significant because they may indicate a general trend in the growth of other oxide films, which has not been previously observed or considered.« less
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  1. Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (United States)
  2. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0953-8984; R&D Project: PO010; KC0201060
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Physics. Condensed Matter
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 28; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 0953-8984
IOP Publishing
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States