Room-Temperature Intrinsic and Extrinsic Damping in Polycrystalline Fe Thin Films


We examine room-temperature magnetic relaxation in polycrystalline Fe films. Out-of-plane ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) measurements reveal Gilbert damping parameters of 0.0024 for Fe films with thicknesses of 4-25 nm, regardless of their microstructural properties. The remarkable invariance with film microstructure strongly suggests that intrinsic Gilbert damping in polycrystalline metals at room temperature is a local property of nanoscale crystal grains, with limited impact from grain boundaries and film roughness. By contrast, the in-plane FMR linewidths of the Fe films exhibit distinct nonlinear frequency dependences, indicating the presence of strong extrinsic damping. To fit our in-plane FMR data, we have used a grain-to-grain two-magnon scattering model with two types of correlation functions aimed at describing the spatial distribution of inhomogeneities in the film. However, neither of the two correlation functions is able to reproduce the experimental data quantitatively with physically reasonable parameters. Our findings advance the fundamental understanding of intrinsic Gilbert damping in structurally disordered films, while demonstrating the need for a deeper examination of how microstructural disorder governs extrinsic damping.

cond-mat.mtrl-sci, cond-mat.mes-hall