4.3 Nanoscale Samples and Optics

Project coordinators: W. Engel

Project goals

The Laboratory for Nanoscale Samples and Optics supports several experiments in different scientific projects of the MBI. We produce thin-film samples, filters and membranes by means of magnetron sputtering and thermal evaporation. The deposition system enables the coating of up to 4" substrates using a maximum of eight different materials without vacuum break. Lateral patterning of samples on the micrometer and/or nanometer scale is achieved via electron beam lithography or Focused-Ion-Beam (FIB) patterning, in close cooperation with the central facility for electron microscopy (ZELMI) at the Technische Universität Berlin. Topographic and magnetic characterization of thin film samples is carried out by atomic- and magnetic force microscopy (AFM/MFM), Kerr magnetometry (MOKE) and via Kerr microscopy.

A variety of research activities at MBI deal with dynamical processes which occur intrinsically on the nanometer length scale set by fundamental material properties such as inelastic mean free paths for transport of electrons or spins. Sensitivity to such processes can be obtained via several experimental approaches using short pulses of optical light, XUV or x-rays. Nanoscale patterning of a sample in conjunction with spectroscopy, scattering or imaging methods allows for designing unique experiments with specific information content and sensitivity, for example via integrated near field optics.

Furthermore, via nanopatterning we are able to produce diffractive far field optics for experiments with XUV and soft x-rays, where structure sizes have to approach the wavelength of the radiation in use. Custom Fresnel zone plates, holographic masks or coded aperture arrays are some examples of these capabilities.

Finally, the study of ultrafast dynamic processes in magnetic materials requires the development of suitable sample materials in the form of thin multilayer films or alloys, together with the ability to characterize their static properties prior to time-resolved experiments.

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