Dependence of the Growth Mode in Epitaxial FePt Films on Surface Free Energy

Ippei Suzuki*, Shoichi Kubo, Hosein Sepehri-Amin, Yukiko K. Takahashi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Epitaxial thin films of L10-ordered FePt alloys are one of the most important materials in magnetic recording and spintronics applications due to their large perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA). The key to the production of these required superior properties lies in the control of the growth mode of the films. Further, it is necessary to distinguish between the effect of lattice mismatch and surface free energy on the growth mode because of their strong correlation. In this study, the effect of surface free energy on the growth mode of FePt epitaxial films was investigated using MgO, NiO, and MgON surfaces with almost the same lattice constant to exclude the effect of lattice mismatch. It was found that the growth mode can be tuned from a three-dimensional (3D) island mode on MgO to a more two-dimensional (2D)-like mode on MgON and NiO. Contact angle measurements revealed that MgON and NiO show larger surface free energy than MgO, indicating that the difference in the growth mode is due to their larger surface free energy. In addition, MgON was found to induce not only a flat surface as FePt grown on SrTiO3 (STO), which has a small lattice mismatch, but also a larger PMA than that of STO/FePt. As larger lattice mismatch is favored to induce a higher PMA into the FePt films, MgO substrates are exclusively used, but 3D island growth is indispensable. This work demonstrates that tuning the surface free energy enables us to achieve a large PMA and flat film surface in FePt epitaxial films on MgO. The results also indicate that modifying the surface free energy is pertinent for the flexible functional design of thin films.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16620-16627
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 14
Externally publishedYes


  • FePt
  • epitaxial film
  • growth mode
  • perpendicular magnetic anisotropy
  • surface free energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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