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Nanometre scale imaging of magnetic perovskite oxide thin films using scanning transmission electron microscopy

Nanometre scale imaging of magnetic perovskite oxide thin films using scanning transmission electron microscopy


Magnetic materials are a vital part of modern society, being important components in technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging machines and hard disk drives. A common strategy to both improve existing technologies and develop new ones, is miniaturization. The most striking example being the billion-fold increase in silicon semiconductor transistor density, which fundamentally changed society since its invention in the 60ies. However, this miniaturization trend now seems to come to a slow-down as devices are shrinking to sizes where hard physical limits are setting in, and being able to image these nanoscale devices becomes ever more important. Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) is a widely used imaging technique used to study such nanometre scale devices, however it does not readily provide imaging of the magnetic properties at this scale.
The perovskite oxides form a materials family, which exhibits a wide range of properties including magnetism. A similar miniaturization process has been used for these materials, where making them as nanometre thick films revealed new phenomena. The most exciting being multiferroics, where an applied electric field can change the magnetic structure, and vice versa. This has attracted much interest in both making and studying these oxide materials, especially their magnetic properties, due to the great potential for new device concepts. However, due to the small sizes of these films they're often very hard to study, especially when it comes to their nanoscale magnetic structure. This action will take advantage of recently developed fast electron STEM detectors to image the nanometre scale magnetic structures of these materials directly with unprecedented resolution. Using a high-end STEM equipped with such a detector, both the magnetic and crystal structure will be studied in the same microscope. This will enable highly correlated studies of the perovskites, giving a deeper understanding of these new phenomena.
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Prinsstraat 13
2000 Antwerpen


Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 166 320

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 838001


Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 April 2019

  • End date

    31 March 2021

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 166 320

  • EU contribution

    € 166 320

Coordinated by: