We investigated the structure and magnetic properties of epitaxial films of D022-Mn3Ge tetragonal Heusler like compounds in detail. Epitaxial films with a stoichiometric composition were grown on Cr-buffered single crystalline (0 0 1) MgO substrates using ultra-high vacuum sputtering at different growth temperatures. X-ray diffraction showed that D022-ordered films were formed at growth temperatures of 200 °C. Epitaxial growth was indicated by cross-sectional high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. Nanobeam diffraction patterns from the D022-Mn3Ge film grown at 400 °C suggests the absence of planar defects such as stacking faults and twins in the film. Out-of-plane magnetic hysteresis curves with perfect squareness were observed for the films grown at 300 °C. These films also showed abrupt magnetization reversal at a coercivity of about 1 T, which is higher than that of other thin film materials with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy such as CoPt and FePt. A huge domain diameter in the D022-Mn3Ge films was indicated by the initial magnetization curves that were measured by the polar magneto-optical Kerr effect.
- perpendicular magnetic anisotropy