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Atomic-Scale Studies of Cobalt Distribution in Co-TiO2 Anatase Thin Films: Processing, Microstructure, and the Ori...

by K. Griffin, Maria Varela Del Arco, Stephen J Pennycook, A. Pakhomov, Kannan Krishnan
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Journal of Applied Physics
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Using high-resolution, aberration-corrected, scanning transmission electron microscopy and electron-energy-loss spectroscopy we show that in films of single-phase anatase Co:TiO2, the Co distribution and magnetic properties are strongly dependent both on the overall crystalline quality and postgrowth vacuum annealing process. The Co:TiO2 films are coherent, epitaxial anatase with
no secondary phases or metallic Co. Films of lower crystalline quality reveal a relatively homogeneous Co concentration, while films of higher crystalline quality show a tendency for Co enrichment near the surface region, around grain boundaries, and the substrate interface. Both uniform and nonuniform samples show a notable enhancement in the saturation magnetization with annealing, while the coercive field is considerably higher in the samples with uniform Co
distribution. These experiments confirm that films of single-phase anatase Co:TiO2 with both uniform and nonuniform Co distributions exhibit room-temperature ferromagnetism in the insulating ground state, while the compositional uniformity and film microstructure play a role in the bulk magnetic properties of the material and the mechanisms for ferromagnetic ordering.