Magnetic imaging using geometrically constrained nano-domain walls†
Magnetic nanostructures, as part of hybrid CMOS technology, have the potential to overcome silicon's scaling limit. However, a major problem is how to characterize their magnetization without disturbing it. Magnetic force microscopy (MFM) offers a convenient way of studying magnetization, but spatial resolution and sensitivity are usually boosted at the cost of increasing probe-sample interaction. By using a single magnetic domain wall (DW), confined in a V-shape nanostructure fabricated at the probe apex, it is demonstrated here that the spatial resolution and the magnetic sensitivity can be decoupled and both enhanced. Indeed, owing to the nanostructure's strong shape anisotropy, DW-probes have 2 high and 2 low magnetic moment states with opposite polarities, characterised by a geometrically constrained pinned DW, and curled magnetization, respectively. Electron holography studies, supported by numerical simulations, and in situ MFM show that the DW-probe state can be controlled, and thus used as a switchable tool with a low/high stray field intensity.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles