Partially ordered Fe-N thin films were grown by a facing target sputtering process on the surface of a (001) Ag underlayer on MgO substrates. It was confirmed by x-ray diffraction that the Ag layer enlarged the in-plane lattice of the Fe-N thin films. Domains of the ordered α″-Fe 16N2 phase within an epitaxial (001) α′- FexN phase were identified by electron diffraction and high-resolution aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) methods. STEM dark-field and bright-field images showed the fully ordered structure of the α″-Fe16N2 at the atomic column level. High saturation magnetization(Ms) of 1890 emu/cc was obtained for α″-Fe16N2 on the Ag underlayer, while only 1500 emu/cc was measured for Fe-N on the Fe underlayer. The results are likely due to a tensile strain induced in the α″-Fe16N 2 phase by the Ag structure at the interface.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was partially supported by a DOE ARPA-E REACT Program, DE-AR0000199, and National Science Foundation of China, Grant Nos. 51331002 and 51371027.
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