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Title: Final Report: Nanoscale Dynamical Heterogeneity in Complex Magnetic Materials

A magnetic object can be demagnetized by dropping it on a hard surface, but what does ‘demagnetized’ actually mean? In 1919 Heinrich Barkhausen proved the existence of magnetic domains, which are regions of uniform magnetization that are much larger than atoms but much smaller than a macroscopic object. A material is fully magnetized when domain magnetizations are aligned, while it is demagnetized when the domain magnetizations are randomly oriented and the net magnetization is zero. The heterogeneity of a demagnetized object leads to interesting questions. Magnets are unstable when their poles align, and stable when their poles anti-align, so why is the magnetized state ever stable? What do domains look like? What is the structure of a domain wall? How does the magnetized state transform to the demagnetized state? How do domains appear and disappear? What are the statistical properties of domains and how do these vary as the domain pattern evolves? Some of these questions remain the focus of intense study nearly a century after Barkhausen’s discovery. For example, just a few years ago a new kind of magnetic texture called a skyrmion was discovered. A skyrmion is a magnetic domain that is a nanometer-scale, topologically protected vortex. ‘Topologicallymore » protected’ means that skyrmions are hard to destroy and so are stable for extended periods. Skyrmions are characterized by integral quantum numbers and are observed to move with little dissipation and so could store and process information with very low power input. Our research project uses soft x-rays, which offer very high magnetic contrast, to probe magnetic heterogeneity and to measure how it evolves in time under external influences. We will condition a soft x-ray beam so that the wave fronts will be coherent, that is, they will be smooth and well-defined. When coherent soft x-ray beam interacts with a magnetic material, the magnetic heterogeneity is imprinted onto the wave fronts and projected into a diffraction pattern. These patterns will be analyzed to understand the structure, motion, and statistical properties of magnetic textures and their boundaries. Over the period covered by this grant we will study a) the structure, phase behaviors, and motion of skyrmions in various thin film materials, and 2) the statistical properties of Barkhausen cascades, which are a key factor in how magnetization varies.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, OR (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1254641
Report Number(s):
DOE-UOregon--SC0006905
DOE Contract Number:
SC0006905
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Univ. of Oregon, Eugene, OR (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; 77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY Magnetism; spintronics; magnetic domains