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High-Throughput Top-Down Fabrication of Uniform Magnetic Particles
Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Author: Julia Litvinov et al.

by Julia Litvinov, Azeem Nasrullah, Timothy Sherlock, Yi-Ju Wang, Paul Ruchhoeft, Richard C. Willson

Ion Beam Aperture Array Lithography was applied to top-down fabrication of large dense (108–109 particles/cm2) arrays of uniform micron-scale particles at rates hundreds of times faster than electron beam lithography. In this process, a large array of helium ion beamlets is formed when a stencil mask containing an array of circular openings is illuminated by a broad beam of energetic (5–8 keV) ions, and is used to write arrays of specific repetitive patterns. A commercial 5-micrometer metal mesh was used as a stencil mask; the mesh size was adjusted by shrinking the stencil openings using conformal sputter-deposition of copper. Thermal evaporation from multiple sources was utilized to form magnetic particles of varied size and thickness, including alternating layers of gold and permalloy. Evaporation of permalloy layers in the presence of a magnetic field allowed creation of particles with uniform magnetic properties and pre-determined magnetization direction. The magnetic properties of the resulting particles were characterized by Vibrating Sample Magnetometry. Since the orientation of the particles on the substrate before release into suspension is known, the orientation-dependent magnetic properties of the particles could be determined.