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Magnetic contrast in the scanning electron microscope: An appraisal of techniques and their applications

Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0304-8853(78)90096-3


Abstract The SEM represents a comparatively new technique for the imaging of magnetic domains and a “state of the art” review of its applications and potential is given. A simple account of electron scattering, presented initially, serves as a basis to explain the physical origin and characteristics of the two principal modes of magnetic contrast. Simple models of the imaging process are discussed as well as the instrumental factors necessary to optimize contrast and resolution. The SEM has been used to investigate the domain structures of recording tape, cobalt and many magnetic oxides, including bubble materials. It also yields quantitative information about field distributions such as those found in recording heads. Domain and domain wall images may also be observed in cubic materials and this is particularly useful for studying the behaviour of transformer grain oriented silicon-iron, especially at high accelerating voltages where the coating can be penetrated to reveal the magnetic structure beneath. When allied with its versatility in other fields of operation it is concluded that the SEM constitutes a valuable tool for domain observation and will find increasing use as such.

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