We used a new concept of tip preparation for magnetic force microscopy (MFM) proposed recently based on coating electron beam deposited carbon needles with appropriate magnetic thin film materials. In combining the advantages of electron beam fabricated needles with those of already widely used thin film tips, high resolution MFM tips can be prepared routinely and reproducibly on all type of cantilevers. Due to the fabrication procedure, which is described in detail, the effective magnetic tip volume is formed by a homogeneous, magnetically isolated, high aspect ratio thin film element favoring a single domain tip behavior. To reinforce the inherent shape anisotropy an additional uniaxial anisotropy is induced along the tip axis by applying an external field during the deposition of the ferromagnetic alloy. Because of the parallel side walls and the rounded tip end, most of the stray field will emanate from the apex region, resulting in a high field density and only little influence on the magnetization within the sample of interest. By using a material with high saturation magnetization, the thickness of the magnetic layer can be drastically reduced, leading to an increased resolution. To demonstrate the potential of the new concept various MFM observations on different types of materials for magnetic storage technology have been performed without changing the presented basic preparation parameters.
- SMI-TST: From 2006 in EWI-TST
- SMI-EXP: EXPERIMENTAL TECHNIQUES