Magneto-optic effects in ferromagnetic films: Implications for spin devices

C. E. Tanner, T. Williams, S. Schwall, S. T. Ruggiero, P. Shaklee, S. Potashnik, J. M. Shaw, C. M. Falco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We present results on the magneto-optic properties of ferromagnetic films deposited on GaAs and SiO2 substrates. Using left- and right-circularly polarized light, we have measured the polarization-dependent photoresponse and reflectivity of Co/GaAs, Fe/GaAs and NiFe/GaAs Schottky diodes and the polarization-dependent reflection and transmission of NiFe/SiO 2 and Co/SiO2 structures as a function of ferromagnetic film thickness, reported here in the range of 7.5-15 nm. Films were prepared by sputtering and molecular-beam epitaxy. Measurements were made in the presence of magnetic fields ranging from -1.2 to +1.2 T both parallel and perpendicular to the sample surface. We find maximum polarization-dependent transmission and photoresponse effects (with respect to left- versus right-circularly polarized light) of 2-4% in magnitude. Taken together the work suggests that magneto-optic effects intrinsic to the films, rather than spin injection across the ferromagnetic/semiconductor interface, are responsible for the observed phenomenology. The work has direct implications for the interpretation of results in ferromagnetic/semiconductor spintronic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-709
Number of pages6
JournalOptics Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2006


  • Magneto-optics
  • Spintronics
  • Thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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