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Basic&Laboratory&

Materials&Science&and&Engineering&
&

Vibrating&Sample&
Magnetometry&

M106&

As of: 05.09.2011

Aim: Magnetic characterization of ferromagnetic samples.


1

Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 2
1.1. Measurement principles ..................................................................................................... 2

Basic .......................................................................................................................................... 3
2.1 Ferromagnetic materials..................................................................................................... 3
2.1.1 Magnetic domains ........................................................................................................ 3
2.1.2 Hysteresis ..................................................................................................................... 5
2.2 Magnetic Anisotropy ........................................................................................................... 5
2.3 Demagnetization ................................................................................................................. 7
2.4 Units .................................................................................................................................... 8

Experiment ............................................................................................................................... 8
3.1 Equipment ........................................................................................................................... 8
3.2 Procedure ............................................................................................................................ 9

Analysis................................................................................................................................... 10

Report ..................................................................................................................................... 10

References .............................................................................................................................. 10

M106: Vibrating Sample Magnetometry

1 Introduction
The aim of this lab course is to characterize ferromagnetic samples using vibrating sample
magnetometry (VSM). For this, an understanding of the measurement principles and the
properties of ferromagnets is required.

1.1. Measurement principles


VSM is based on Faraday's law, which states that an electromagnetic force is generated in a
coil when there is a change in flux linking the coil [1]. In the measurement setup, a magnetic
sample is moved in the proximity of two pickup coils as indicated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Schematic representation of a vibrating sample magnetometer


The oscillator provides a sinusoidal signal that is translated by the transducer assembly into
vertical vibration. The sample, which is fixed to the sample rod, vibrates with a given
frequency and amplitude (60 Hz and 1 mm). It is centered between the two pole pieces of an
electromagnet that generates a magnetic field !! of high homogeneity. Field strengths of
several Tesla are commonly possible with laboratory VSM systems. Stationary pickup coils
are mounted on the poles of the electromagnet. Their symmetry center coincides with the
magnetic center of the sample. Hence, the change in magnetic flux originating from the
vertical movement of the magnetized sample induces a voltage !!"# in the coils. !! , being
constant, has no effect on the voltage but is necessary only for magnetizing the sample.
According to Faraday, the voltage in a single winding of the pickup coil can be written as:
!!"# =

!!
!!

(1)

M106: Vibrating Sample Magnetometry


where is the magnetic flux. For the pickup coils with a flat surface ! and !! windings,
equation 1 gives:
!!

!!"# = !! ! !!

(2)

When we bring the sample into the homogeneous field !! , it will be magnetized and have the
magnetization !. The magnetic flux density ! near the sample is now
! = !! (!! + !).

(3)

where ! is defined by the resulting magnetic moment ! per volume unit:


!=

!!

!!

!!

!"

(4)

In the constant magnetic field !! we have:


!!

!!

(5)

The change of magnetic flux linking the coils is therefore proportional to a number of
quantities: the frequency ! of the vibration and its amplitude !, the magnetic moment of the
sample ! and the distance to the pickup coils !! .
Furthermore, !!"# can be increased by increasing the number of windings !! and the number
of pickup coils !! used in the setup. Also, the geometry of the sample influences the
induction:
!!"# (!) !!"!! !! !! !"#$(!")
where G is a geometric factor of the sample.
The measurement setup is sensitive even to very low magnetic moments. Today's vibrating
sample magnetometers are able to detect magnetic moments down to the ! emu range, which
corresponds to approximately 10!!! grams of iron [2].

2 Basic
2.1 Ferromagnetic materials
2.1.1 Magnetic domains
Magnetic materials are differentiated by their behavior in external magnetic fields. For
ferromagnets, the !(!) dependence is characterized by domain wall movement and
magnetization rotation.
According to the theory of Weiss, a non-saturated ferromagnet contains a number of small
regions called domains, in which the local magnetization is homogeneous and reaches the
saturation value. The direction of magnetization in different domains is not necessarily
3

(6)

M106: Vibrating Sample Magnetometry


parallel. Two domains are separated by domain walls which are regions of approximately 100
nm where the magnetization rotates continuously. They are classified by the angle of rotation
(90 or 180) and the mode of rotation (Bloch or Nel).

Figure 2. a) magnetic domain pattern of an Fe whisker, b) Bloch wall, c) Nel wall [3]
When applying an external magnetic field, domain walls move through the sample, which
increases the overall magnetization. In magnetically soft materials, domain walls are broad
and the movement of the walls requires only small fields, whereas larger fields are necessary
in magnetically hard materials.
A second mechanism that increases the magnetization is magnetization rotation within the
domains. Due to magnetic anisotropies (see section 2.2), certain directions are easier to
magnetize than others. Spontaneous magnetization lies preferably along one of these easy
directions. If the applied external field is not parallel to any such easy direction, the
magnetization rotates and aligns along the magnetic flux lines.

M106: Vibrating Sample Magnetometry


2.1.2

Hysteresis

Figure 3. a) The virgin curve, b) hysteresis(loop(of(a(ferromagnetic(material(with(virgin(


curve(also(shown((17273)([4]
(
(Magnetisierung M oder Fludichte B, magnetization M or flux density B; Sttigung,
saturation; Rotation von Domnen, rotation of domains; Anstieg = Maximale
Permeabilitt !max, slope = maximum permeability !max; Domnenwachstum, domain
growth; Anstieg = Anfangspermeabilitt !i, initial permeability !I; magnetische
Feldstrke H, magnetic field strength H)
Figure 3 shows a typical ferromagnetic hysteresis loop and indicates the predominant,
underlying mechanisms for each region. First, the sample is magnetized to saturation in an
applied field (virgin curve). The region of highest permeability is governed by domain wall
motion, whereas magnetization rotation occurs at higher magnetic fields. When the applied
field is reduced to zero, the remanent magnetization !! remains. A magnetic field of opposite
direction, called the coercivity field !! , is needed to macroscopically demagnetize the sample.
The hysteresis loop contains important information about the magnetic properties of the
sample. Characteristic quantities include the saturation magnetization !! , the remanent
magnetization !! , the coercivity field !! , permeability ! and the dissipated energy that is
necessary to magnetize the sample in the opposite direction. The dissipated energy can be
calculated from the area that is inside the hysteresis loop.

2.2

Magnetic Anisotropy

If the magnetic properties of a sample are dependent on direction, it is magnetically


anisotropic. Magnetic anisotropy arises from dipole-dipole interactions and spin-orbit
coupling.

M106: Vibrating Sample Magnetometry


Macroscopic shape anisotropy has its origin in long-range dipole interactions arising from
free poles at surfaces. It can be represented in terms of the stray fields created external to the
sample. In thin films, stray field energy is minimized if the magnetization is in-plane and
maximized if the magnetization is out-of-plane.
Another form of magnetic anisotropy is the magnetocrystalline anisotropy. When
investigating single crystalline Fe, Ni or Co samples, one notices that the magnetization
curves along certain crystallographic directions differ from each other. In iron, the
magnetization curve along the [100] direction is steeper and reaches saturation at lower
external fields than along [110] or [111], and is therefore called the easy axis of
magnetization. In case of nickel, [111] is the easy axis and [100] the hard axis of
magnetization. In the absence of an external field, the spontaneous magnetization lies
preferably along one of the easy axes. The origin of the magnetocrystalline anisotropy lies
both in the coupling of the spin part of the magnetic moment to the electronic orbital shape
and orientation (spin-orbit coupling) and the chemical bonding of the orbitals on a given atom
in their local environment. [5]

Figure 4. a) Crystal structure of body centered cubic (bcc) iron; indicated are easy, medium,
and hard axes of magnetization; b) magnetization curves along the corresponding
crystallographic axes [5]

M106: Vibrating Sample Magnetometry

2.3

Demagnetization

In an external magnetic field, the presence of a magnetic material alters the magnetic
induction !. If the sample has a finite length, magnetic poles are generated near the ends of
the sample. These poles give rise to a magnetic field that opposes the external field and is
therefore called the demagnetizing field. The strength of the demagnetizing field depends on
the magnetization ! and the geometry of the sample. The field inside the magnetic material is
now different from the external field and requires correction. The inner field can be
calculated:
!!" = !!"# !! !
where ! is the magnetization and !! the demagnetizing factor which is only determined by
the sample shape. For spheres and ellipsoids, it is possible to calculate !! , whereas for other
shapes approximations are needed.
Geometry
Direction
!!
Thin film
in-plane
0
out-of-plane
1
Toroid
0
Long cylinder
0
Cylinder
(l/d = 20)
0.006
Cylinder
(l/d = 8)
0.02
Cylinder
(l/d = 1)
0.27
Sphere
0.333
Demagnetization factors of oblate and prolate ellipsoids and cylinders as a function their ratio
of long over short axes are shown in Figure 5 for fields applied parallel to the long axis.

Figure 5. Demagnetization factors of oblate and prolate ellipsoids and cylinders [6]

(7)

M106: Vibrating Sample Magnetometry

2.4

Units

Quantity
Magnetic flux
Flux density / Induction
Magnetic field
Magnetization
Polarization
Dissipated energy
Permability
Magnetic moment
Conversions
1 T = 10!! G
1 A/m = 4! 10!!! Oe
1 Am!! = 10!! emu

Symbol

B
H
M
J
BH
!
!

Unit (SI)
Weber [Wb] = Vs
Tesla [T] = Wb/m!!
[A/m]
[A/m]
[T]
[J/m!! ]
[Vs/Am]
[Am!! ]

Unit (cgs)
Maxwell [Mx]
Gauss [G]
Oersted [Oe]
[Oe]
[G]
[GOe]
[G/Oe]
[emu] = Gcm!!

Constants
!! = 4! 10!!! Vs/Am

3 Experiment
3.1 Equipment

Figure 6: LakeShore VSM 7300 system. An overview of the setup is shown at the left
including locations of detail photos a and b; a) vibrating rod, pole pieces of the electromagnet,
Hall probe, pickup coils; b) oscillator, rotary motor, and positioning screws
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M106: Vibrating Sample Magnetometry

Components of the LakeShore VSM 7300 system are shown in Figure 6: the electromagnet
with the pole pieces on which the pickup coils are mounted (a) and the vibrating/rotating head
with positioning screws to allow centering the vibrating rod (b). The VSM system also
comprises a bipolar DC power supply ( 50V, 100A), a cooling system for both the
electromagnet and the power supply, the VSM controller and a PC with LakeShore "IDEAS
VSM" software to control the components and to collect the measured data.

3.2

Procedure

Before using the VSM, you must carry out a series of configuration steps.
Find the exact position of the sample with respect to the center of the pickup coils. The
vibrating rod can be adjusted with three screws on top of the VSM for the x, y and z
directions. To get a measurement signal, insert the Ni standard, turn on the vibration of the
VSM head and set the field to 2000G. The pickup coils are connected in such a way that
when the sample is at the center of the coils, there will be a signal minimum along the x
direction, a maximum along the y direction, and a maximum again along the z direction.
Measure the sample holder (without a sample) as a reference. Use the Calibrations
Moment offset entry in the toolbar of the LakeShore VSM software.
Re-insert the Ni standard and run Calibrations Moment gain. The Ni-standard is ballshaped, therefore magnetically isotropic, and has a magnetic moment of 2.926 emu at
5000G. The software will use this information to convert the voltage signal into the exact
value of the magnetic moment.
After configuring the VSM, the goal of the following measurements will address three topics.
The first part covers basic magnetic characterization and the information that can be deduced
from magnetization curves. The second and third parts deal with magnetocrystalline
anisotropy and demagnetization, respectively. They will be further explained in detail.
Determine the volume of each sample that you measure.
1. Basic magnetic characterization: Record the magnetization curves for three samples
provided by the supervisor. You will have to create a new experiment ("lab2008_vsm")
within the LakeShore software and enter an adequate sensitivity range and the maximal
external field, !! , that is sufficient to saturate the samples. Both values can be estimated
before each measurement by gradually increasing the field while monitoring the magnetic
moment of the sample in the "Moment meter" window. Copy the created files to your
disk.
2. Magnetocrystalline anisotropy energy: Fix the Fe single crystal to the sample holder.
Set !! to 3000G and record the magnetic moment of the crystal during a 360!! rotation of
the sample. Record the magnetization curves at rotation angles where the maximum and
the minimum of the magnetic moment were observed. Copy the created files to your disk.
3. Demagnetization: Measure the magnetization curve for each of the two Fe samples of
different shape. Copy the created files to your disk.

M106: Vibrating Sample Magnetometry

4 Analysis
The LakeShore software saves all data as .txt files. Copy these ASCII files to either a 3.5"
disk or a USB stick that you bring with you. The files can be imported into OriginLab Origin
(which you can access using the guest account at the Institute) or Microsoft Excel.

5 Report
In your report, please do the following:
1. Create a diagram containing the magnetization curves (T vs. A/m) for the materials of
section 3.2 Basic magnetic characterization and a table showing saturation polarization
[T], remanent polarization [T], coercitiviy field [A/m] and the dissipated energy [J].
Create a diagram showing the relative permeability as a function of the applied field.
2. Discuss and compare the magnetic properties of these materials with respect to
applications.
3. Create a diagram showing the polarization of the Fe single crystal as a function of the
rotation angle and indicate the angles that coincide with crystallographic directions.
Calculate the magnetic anisotropy energy using the magnetization curves along these two
directions.
4. Estimate the demagnetization factor for the samples of section 3.2 Demagnetization and
create a diagram with the uncorrected and the corrected magnetization curves. Indicate !!
for both samples.
5. Give 3 common measurement errors of the VSM measurement concept and explain how
they affect the measured magnetization curve.

6 References
[1] K.H.J. Buschow and F.R. de Boer. Physics of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials.
Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2003.
[2] L. Michalowsky. Magnettechnik. Fachbuchverlag Leipzig, 1993.
[3] A. Hubert and R. Schfer. Magnetic Domains. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg,
1998.
[4] D. R. Askeland. Materialwissenschaften. Spektrum, Akad. Verl., 1996.
[5] O'Handley, R. C. Modern magnetic materials : principles and applications. John Wiley
& Sons, New York, 2000.
[6] D. Jiles. Introduction to Magnetism and Magnetic Materials. Chapman & Hall, 1998.

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