Magnetic force microscopy (MFM)
Magnetic properties of materials give rise to many applications in scientific and technological fields. The development of magnetic thin films has been of prime importance for spintronics and magnetic storage. This field is still booming and needs dedicated analysis set-ups. Near field force microscopy applied to magnetism has appeared as a simple way to measure magnetic forces on surfaces.
A Magnetic Force Microscope is an atomic force microscope with a magnetic tip (usually in CoCr). To the usual atomic force due to the electronic orbital hybridation is added the magnetic force, which is predominant at some distance of the surface (decreases more slowly than electronic forces with distance). Whereas the interaction range of the electronic forces are some nm, that of the magnetic force is some tens of nm.
The MFM images give information on the magnetic domains (lateral resolution: 10-100nm) and on any phenomenon inducing a magnetic field variation on the surface.