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Effect of Ta buffer layer and thickness on the structural and magnetic properties of Co thin films
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Single Co and Ta/Co bilayers were grown on Si(100) substrates in a magnetron sputtering system. The effect of Ta buffer layer and the thickness of Co layer on the structural and magnetic properties of the Co layers has been studied. A single Co layer shows a textured structure above thickness of 40 nm according to the x-ray diffraction (XRD) pattern. The magnetic properties of Co layers depend significantly on the thickness of the films. Ta grows as highly textured Β -Ta (tetragonal) phase on Si with a smooth surface. The XRD and atomic force microscopy results show that the Ta buffer layer improves the structural properties dramatically, resulting in a strongly textured and smoother surface morphology. The Ta layer also affects the magnetic properties of Co layers to a large extent, especially inducing an in-plane anisotropy in thin Co films.