The physical properties of nanostructured thin films and multilayers depend crucially on their interfaces. The precise knowledge of the interface morphology at the atomic scale is mandatory to reliably understand their macroscopic response. These details become even more critical when dealing with magnetic thin films as the finest structural and/or compositional local changes may affect the magnetic coupling and alter the macroscopic response. Soft X-ray Resonant Magnetic Reflectivity (SXRMR) is a suitable technique in this field, combining specific aspects of x-ray absorption and x-ray scattering processes to simultaneously obtain complementary structural and magnetic information on thin films and multilayers. Here, we present a case study on a MgO/Co/MgO trilayer in which the combined use of SXRMR, x-ray absorption spectroscopy and x-ray magnetic circular dichroism has allowed to reconstruct the elemental and magnetic depth profiles with sub-nanometric resolution and to distinguish fine compositional defects at the Co-on-MgO and MgO-on-Co interfaces.
Carlomagno, I., Verna, A., Forrest, T., Meneghini, C. (2021). Structural Profile of a MgO/Co/MgO Trilayer Using Soft X-ray Resonant Magnetic Reflectivity. In Springer Proceedings in Physics (pp. 155-167). Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH [10.1007/978-3-030-72005-6_12].