Unexpected structural and magnetic depth dependence of YIG thin films

J. F.K. Cooper, C. J. Kinane, S. Langridge, M. Ali, B. J. Hickey, T. Niizeki, K. Uchida, E. Saitoh, H. Ambaye, A. Glavic

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35 Citations (Scopus)


We report measurements on yttrium iron garnet (YIG) thin films grown on both gadolinium gallium garnet (GGG) and yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) substrates, with and without thin Pt top layers. We provide three principal results: the observation of an interfacial region at the Pt/YIG interface, we place a limit on the induced magnetism of the Pt layer, and confirm the existence of an interfacial layer at the GGG/YIG interface. Polarized neutron reflectometry (PNR) was used to give depth dependence of both the structure and magnetism of these structures. We find that a thin film of YIG on GGG is best described by three distinct layers: an interfacial layer near the GGG, around 5 nm thick and nonmagnetic, a magnetic "bulk" phase, and a nonmagnetic and compositionally distinct thin layer near the surface. We theorize that the bottom layer, which is independent of the film thickness, is caused by Gd diffusion. The top layer is likely to be extremely important in inverse spin Hall effect measurements, and is most likely Y2O3 or very similar. Magnetic sensitivity in the PNR to any induced moment in the Pt is increased by the existence of the Y2O3 layer; any moment is found to be less than 0.02μB/atom.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104404
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept 5


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