Comparative Study of Optical and Magneto-Optical Properties of Normal, Disordered and Inverse Spinel Type Oxides

Research paper by Vitaly Zviagin, Peter Richter, Tammo Böntgen, Michael Lorenz, Michael Ziese, Dietrich R. T. Zahn, Georgeta Salvan, Marius Grundmann, Rüdiger Schmidt-Grund

Indexed on: 01 Oct '15Published on: 01 Oct '15Published in: Physics - Materials Science


Co$_3$O$_4$, ZnFe$_2$O$_4$, CoFe$_2$O$_4$, ZnCo$_2$O$_4$, and Fe$_3$O$_4$ thin films were fabricated by pulsed laser deposition at high and low temperatures resulting in crystalline single-phase normal, inverse, as well as disordered spinel oxide thin films with smooth surface morphology. The dielectric function, determined by spectroscopic ellipsometry in a wide spectral range from 0.5 eV to 8.5 eV, is compared with the magneto-optical response of the dielectric tensor, investigated by magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE) spectroscopy in the spectral range from 1.7 eV to 5.5 eV with an applied magnetic field of 1.7 T. Crystal field, inter-valence and inter-sublattice charge transfer transitions, and transitions from O$_{2p}$ to metal cation 3d or 4s bands are identified in both the principal diagonal elements and the magneto-optically active off-diagonal elements of the dielectric tensor. Depending on the degree of cation disorder, resulting in local symmetry distortion, the magneto-optical response is found to be strongest for high crystal quality inverse spinels and for disordered normal spinel structure, contrary to the first principle studies of CoFe$_2$O$_4$ and ZnFe$_2$O$_4$. The results presented provide a basis for deeper understanding of light-matter interaction in this material system that is of vital importance for device-related phenomena and engineering.