• Surface effect ferromagnetism in pure and reduced strontium titanate

      DesRoches, Brandon J.; Department of Physics (Brock University, 2011-03-08)
      A room temperature ferromagnetic hysteresis is observed in single crystal strontium titanate substrates as purchased from several manufacturers. It was found that polishing all sides of the substrates removed this observed hysteresis, suggesting that the origin of the ferromagnetic behavior resides on the surface of the substrates. X-ray diffraction and energy dispersive x-ray spectra were measured however they were unable to detect any impurity phases. In similar semiconducting oxides it was previously suggested that ferromagnetism could originate in oxygen vacancies or from disorder within the single crystal. To this end substrates were annealed in both air and vacuum in a range of temperatures (600°C to 1100°G) to both create bulk oxygen vacancies and to heal surface damage. Annealing in vacuum was found to create a measureable number of oxygen vacancies however their creation could not be correlated to the ferromagnetic signal of the substrate. Annealing in air was found to effect the remnant moment of the substrate as well as the width of the x-ray diffraction peaks on the unpolished face, weakly suggesting a relation between surface based disorder and ferromagnetism. Argon ion bombardment was employed to create a layer of surface disorder in the polished crystal, however it was not found to induce ferromagnetism. It was found that acid etching was sufficient to remove the ferromagnetism from as purchased samples and similarly simulated handling with stainless steel tweezers was sufficient to re-create the ferromagnetism. It is suggested that the origin of this ferromagnetism in SrTi03 is surface contaminants (mainly iron).