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Spin-Polarized Low-Energy Electron Microscopy (SPLEEM)

SPLEEM is an extension of the conventional Low-Energy Electron Microscopy (LEEM) in which the electron beam used for imaging is spin-polarized. SPLEEM is dedicated to magnetic imaging: when spin-polarized electrons are injected onto a ferromagnetic surface, the number of electrons backscattered elastically from that surface depends on the relative orientation of the local magnetization and the incoming spin polarization. In SPLEEM, the spin-polarization of the electron beam can be oriented in all spatial directions, thus allowing the determination of unknown magnetic domain microstructures. Just like LEEM, SPLEEM is a direct imaging technique that allows image acquisition at video rate with a spatial resolution of about 10 nm. One can then correlate structural, topographic, spectroscopic and magnetic information in real time. Combining real-time imaging capability and good spatial resolution with very good magnetic sensitivity, SPLEEM is a powerful tool for quantitative characterization of magnetic configurations and structure-property relationships.

Although SPLEEM has become a mature magnetic imaging tool, up to now only four SPLEEM microscopes have been built worldwide. The microscope we use in our studies is located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, CA). It can be used at variable temperature (from 100 to 800 K degrees, usually) and routinely achieves spatial resolution of 20 nanometers (both for magnetic and non-magnetic imaging, in static or dynamic modes). The microscope is fully equipped for in-situ sample preparations and metal film depositions. The microscope, which operates under very good ultra-high vacuum conditions, is also equipped with different characterization capabilities including Auger spectroscopy and low energy electron diffraction.

Collaborators

- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (USA): A.K. Schmid
- MNM : O. Fruchart, S. Pizzini, N. Rougemaille, J. Vogel, E. Wagner
- SOLEIL Synchrotron (France): R. Belkhou, G. Cauchon
- Arizona State University (USA): E. Bauer

Corresponding author: N. Rougemaille

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