Tuning the magnetic properties of Fe thin films with RF-sputtered amorphous carbon

Shoug Alghamdi, Timothy Moorsom, Fatma Al Ma'Mari, Alistair Walton, Zabeada Aslam, Mannan Ali, Bryan J. Hickey, Oscar Cespedes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


RF-sputtered amorphous carbon (a-C) offers a simple and cheap pathway to tune the magnetic properties of transition metal thin films for magnetic memories and different spintronic applications. This paper describes changes in the magnetic properties of iron thin films with a-C overlayers. In as-deposited samples, hybridisation and intermixing at the Fe/a-C interface leads to magnetic softening (Liu et al., 2006) [1], with a reduction in the coercive field (Hc) up to a factor of five for Fe/a-C/Fe trilayers, and a 10–30% lower saturation magnetization as a function of the metal film thickness. After annealing at 500 °C, inter-diffusion and graphitization of the carbon layer results in up to a factor five increased coercivity due to increased pinning as shown via Kerr microscopy. Therefore, RF-sputtered carbon overlayers and post-processing can tune the anisotropy and domain configuration of metallic thin films in a synthesis methodology that is simple, cheap and sustainable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number169461
JournalJournal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2022


  • Amorphous carbon
  • Magnetism
  • Molecular spintronics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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