Electron Science Research Institute / School of Science
Funding information available at: https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1944/13/22/5113
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Magneto-optic (MO) imaging and sensing are at present the most developed practical applications of thin-film MO garnet materials. However, in order to improve sensitivity for a range of established and forward-looking applications, the technology and component-related advances are still necessary. These improvements are expected to originate from new material system development. We propose a set of technological modifications for the RF-magnetron sputtering deposition and crystallization annealing of magneto-optic bismuth-substituted iron-garnet films and investigate the improved material properties. Results show that standard crystallization annealing for the as-deposited ultrathin (sputtered 10 nm thick, amorphous phase) films resulted in more than a factor of two loss in the magneto-optical activity of the films in the visible spectral region, compared to the liquid-phase grown epitaxial films. Results also show that an additional 10 nm-thick metal-oxide (Bi2O3) protective layer above the amorphous film results in ~2.7 times increase in the magneto-optical quality of crystallized iron-garnet films. On the other hand, the effects of post-deposition oxygen (O2) plasma treatment on the magneto-optical (MO) properties of Bismuth substituted iron garnet thin film materials are investigated. Results show that in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum (at 532 nm), the O2 treated (up to 3 min) garnet films retain higher specific Faraday rotation and figures of merit compared to non-treated garnet films.
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