Structural Chemistry

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 39–47

Imaging Magnetic Domain Structures with Soft X-Ray Microscopy


  • P. Fischer
    • Max-Planck-Institute for Metals Research
  • T. Eimüller
    • Max-Planck-Institute for Metals Research
  • G. Schütz
    • Max-Planck-Institute for Metals Research
  • G. Denbeaux
    • Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryCenter for X-ray Optics

DOI: 10.1023/A:1021612908943

Cite this article as:
Fischer, P., Eimüller, T., Schütz, G. et al. Structural Chemistry (2003) 14: 39. doi:10.1023/A:1021612908943


The current achievements in magnetic transmission soft X-ray microscopy will be reviewed. The magnetic contrast is given by X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (X-MCD), i.e., the dependence of the absorption coefficient of circularly polarized X rays on the projection of the magnetization in a ferromagnetic system onto the photon propagation direction. X-MCD contrast can reach, e.g., at L2,3 edges in transition metals, large values up to 50%. Combined with a soft X-ray microscope where Fresnel zone plates acting as optical elements provide a lateral resolution down at 25 nm, it allows for imaging magnetic microstructures. Specific features of this photon-based technique are the recording of images in varying external magnetic fields, an inherent chemical specificity, a high sensitivity to thin magnetic layers, due to the large contrast, and the possibility to distinguish between in-plane and out-of plane contributions. In this report, recent results obtained with the XM-1 microscope at the ALS (Berkeley/CA) demonstrate the broad applicability of this novel experimental technique to both fundamental and technological relevant issues in nanomagnetism. The future potential will be briefly outlined.

X-ray magnetic circular dichroismsoft X-ray microscopymagnetic domain structurecircular polarized synchrotron radiationFresnel zone plates
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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003