A Sharp Eye on Thin Films -- Advances through Synchrotron Radiation
The availability of high-brilliance synchrotron radiation has opened new avenues in thin-film research. In recent years new experimental techniques have been developed to reveal structural and dynamical properties with unprecedented accuracy. In this contribution, selected examples are discussed how to obtain depth profiles of properties like electron density, magnetization or spin orientation in thin films and multilayers : The measurement of reflected and diffracted intensities in reciprocal space allows one to determine density profiles and lateral order in layered structures. The efficieny of these techniques can be enhanced by using interference effects in grazing incidence geometry that result in the formation of standing waves. This allows one to concentrate the radiation on the layer under study, leading to an enhanced signal-to-noise ratio. Another way to achieve an even higher specifity is tuning the photon energy to an electronic or nuclear resonance. In this way, selected layers in the sample can be probed which is particularly attractive for the study of magnetic layer systems. It is shown, how isotopic probe layers can be used to directly image the depth profile of the magnetic spin structure inside single layers.
KeywordsSynchrotron Radiation Standing Wave Synchrotron Radiation Source Oxide Layer Thickness Beat Pattern
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