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Growth and crystallographic feature-dependent characterization of spinel zinc ferrite thin films by RF sputtering

Yuan-Chang Liang* and Hao-Yuan Hsia

Author Affiliations

Institute of Materials Engineering, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung 20224, Taiwan

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:537  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-537

Published: 19 December 2013


ZnFe2O4 (ZFO) thin films exhibiting varying crystallographic features ((222)-epitaxially, (400)-epitaxially, and randomly oriented films) were grown on various substrates by radio-frequency magnetron sputtering. The type of substrate used profoundly affected the surface topography of the resulting ZFO films. The surface of the ZFO (222) epilayer was dense and exhibited small rectangular surface grains; however, the ZFO (400) epilayer exhibited small grooves. The surface of the randomly oriented ZFO thin film exhibited distinct three-dimensional island-like grains that demonstrated considerable surface roughness. Magnetization-temperature curves revealed that the ZFO thin films exhibited a spin-glass transition temperature of approximately 40 K. The crystallographic orientation of the ZFO thin films strongly affected magnetic anisotropy. The ZFO (222) epitaxy exhibited the strongest magnetic anisotropy, whereas the randomly oriented ZFO thin film exhibited no clear magnetic anisotropy.

Spinel; Oxide; Crystallographic feature; Sputtering; Surface morphology; Magnetic property