Tuning magnetic response of epitaxial iron-silicide nanoislands by controlled self-assembled growth
AbstractWe investigated the dependence of the magnetic response from epitaxial Si-rich iron-silicide nanostructures on their geometry. By varying substrate orientation and deposition parameters, we altered the growth kinetics and the lattice matching conditions at the silicide/silicon interface. These affected the silicide nanoisland crystal structure, size, shape, and proximity due to spatial ordering and, consequently, their magnetic response in terms of shape and opening of the respective hysteresis loops. In particular, we demonstrated correlation between magnetic anisotropy, expressed as the hysteresis coercive field, and the nanoisland spatial length-to-width aspect ratio. This correlation is explained by the contribution of undercoordinated island edge atoms to the overall measured magnetic behavior of the nanoisland arrays. Further, the island self-ordering along periodic surface steps adds dipolar interactions between the otherwise superparamagnetic nanoislands, consequently resulting in a magnetic response resembling that of a superspin glass.