2010/11/28

ISTG Research - Vibrating Sample Mag…

Vector Vibrating Sample Magnetometer
In a laboratory where recording materials are being developed it is important to be able to investigate the properties of those materials. The minimum bit size is proportional to the thickness of the magnetic material. Therefore recording materials are getting thinner and thinner: layer thicknesses of less than 50 nm are being developed. To be able to study the growth process of such layers, measurement equipment should be sufficiently sensitive for performing measurements on media with a thickness of a few nm. This corresponds with a magnetic signal in the order of 10 nAm². Another development that can be seen is the increasing complexity of the structure in the magnetic recording media (see also the section about Metal Evaporated Tape). These types of media require a completely new approach to measuring and interpretation of the measurement results. One aspect that is of growing importance for modern media is the analysis of the magnetization vector rather than the magnetization in the direction of the applied field because of the importance of the oblique anisotropy direction. One instrument particularly suitable for these kind of investigations is the Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM).

The Vibrating Sample Magnetometer.
In a VSM a sample is vibrated in the vicinity of a set of pick-up coils. The flux change caused by the moving magnetic sample causes an induction voltage across the terminals of the pick-up coils which is proportional to the magnetization of the sample: V(t) = C d(fi)/dt Where fi(t) represents the (changing) flux in the pick-up coils caused by the moving magnetic sample.

Image left: Schematic of a VSM. The signal in the pick-up coils is caused by the flux change produced by the moving magnetic sample

The signal in the coils is very small (the signal caused by the before mentioned 10 nAm² is only a few nano-Volts) and therefore extremely sensitive to noise sources. One of the major causes of problems in such a system are
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2010/11/28

ISTG Research - Vibrating Sample Mag…

vibrations of the coils relative to the field applied by the electro-magnet. The flux produced by the magnetic sample is approximately 1.0E-15 times smaller than the flux produced by the magnet, therefore vibrations must be canceled out by the same factor. Development of this type of instruments is a multi-disciplinary job involving electronics, physics and mechanical aspects. The VSM is nowadays such an important measurement system that in the ISTG lab three different VSMs are being used. Compared to conventional, commercial, VSMs the home made experimental VSM is faster and more sensitive when doing vectorial measurements while being less sensitive to sample size and shape effects and positioning errors: This improvement has been achieved by using a different pick-up coil geometry. [Samwel1993]

Hysteresis loops measured in a standard VSM and in our newly developed Experimental VSM for different sample sizes, (the result for the Exp VSM 5x5 is equal to the 10x10 result). The results in the Exp VSM do not depend on the sample size in contrast to those for standard VSMs.

Vector analysis of the reversal process in an audio tape measured at 80°. The horizontal line represents the direction parallel to the sample.
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ISTG Research - Vibrating Sample Mag…

Last update 9 September 1997

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