Abstract by Alexander Cahoon
Physics and Astronomy
Instrumental Developments for a Surface Magneto-Optic Kerr Effect Magnometer
The SMOKE or Surface Magneto-Optic Kerr Effect Magnometer is an instrument used to measure the out-of-plane magnetization of thin films of ferromagnetic materials. It does this by taking advantage of the Kerr effect which is a magnetic-optical interaction where polarized light, reflecting from a magnetic surface, is rotated proportionally to the degree of the magnetization. We use the instrument to map the hysteresis loops of thin films made Co-based multilayers by applying a varying external magnetic field to the sample and simultaneously measuring the polarization rotation of a beam being reflected off of the surface of the sample. My work has been focused on upgrading the physical apparatus of the SMOKE to improve the mechanical stability and to introduce new features that will allow us to alter the incident angle of the polarized light on our sample, as well as give us the ability to translate our sample so that we can study different sections of our sample without having to remount it.