Influence of rf magnetron sputtering conditions on the magnetic, crystalline, and electrical properties of thin nickel films
Thin nickel films with thicknesses ranging from 30 to 150 nm were deposited via radio frequency (rf) magnetron sputtering. The influence of argon pressure, film thickness, rf input power, and deposition rate on the magnetic, crystalline, and electrical properties of the films was evaluated. Depending on deposition conditions, film coercivity could be varied from 2 to 290 Oe while saturation magnetization could be varied from 280 to 500 emu/cm3. Higher argon pressures produced lower coercivity films. The films exhibited a dominant fcc(111) orientation. Lower argon pressures and higher rf input powers increased nickel grain sizes. Classical models based on domain wall energy considerations and film microstructure are used to intrepret the observed experimental results.