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Quantitative x-ray magnetic circular dichroism mapping with high spatial resolution full-field magnetic transmission soft x-ray spectro-microscopy

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The spectroscopic analysis of X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD), which serves as strong and element-specific magnetic contrast in full-field magnetic transmission soft x-ray microscopy, is shown to provide information on the local distribution of spin (S) and orbital (L) magnetic moments down to a spatial resolution of 25 nm limited by the x-ray optics used in the x-ray microscope. The spatially resolved L/S ratio observed in a multilayered (Co 0.3 nm/Pt 0.5 nm) × 30 thin film exhibiting a strong perpendicular magnetic anisotropy decreases significantly in the vicinity of domain walls, indicating a non-uniform spin configuration in the vertical profile of a domain wall across the thin film. Quantitative XMCD mapping with x-ray spectro-microscopy will become an important characterization tool for systems with topological or engineered magnetization inhomogeneities.

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