Vibrating Sample Magnetometry (VSM), A review

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Vibrating Sample Magnetometry (VSM) is a measurement technique which allows to
determine the magnetic moment of a sample with very high precision. The aim of this
lab course M106 is to enlarge upon the use of this widespread technique introduced in
the lab course B512, where different ferromagnetic samples were characterized
concerning magnetic hysteresis and demagnetization. Here, we will gain a deeper
understanding of the behavior of magnetic materials and its measurement.

In order to
lay the foundations, first the measurement principle and the properties of ferromagnetic
materials will be summarized (magnetic domains, magnetic hysteresis,
demagnetization) and then we will elaborate on the magnetic anisotropy of
ferromagnetic materials.

A vibrating sample magnetometer (VSM) systems are used to measure the magnetic properties of materials. The vibrating component causes a change in the magnetic field of the sample, which generates an electrical field in a coil based on Faraday’s Law of Induction.
If the sample is placed within a uniform magnetic field H, a magnetization M will be induced in the sample. In a VSM, the sample is placed within suitably placed sensing coils, also held at the desired angle.
And the vibrating sample component is made to undergo sinusoidal motion, i.e., mechanically vibrated.
The hysteresis loop shows the “history dependent” nature of magnetization of a ferromagnetic material. Once the material has been driven to saturation, the magnetizing field can then be dropped to zero and the material will retain most of its magnetization (it remembers its history).

Before using the VSM, you must carry out a series of configuration steps.
• Insert the Ni standard into the VSM. The standard is ball-shaped, therefore
magnetically isotropic, and has a magnetic moment of 6.92 emu at 5000 Oe.
• Find the exact position of the standard in respect to the center of the pickup coils. The
vibrating rod can be adjusted by three screws on top of the VSM for x, y and z
direction. The pickup coils are connected in a way that, the sample being in the center
of the coils, there will be a signal minimum along x-, a maximum along y- and a
maximum again along z-direction.
• Run Calibrations → Moment gain to calibrate the instrument, i.e. to convert the
measured voltage signal into the correct value of the magnetic moment.
After calibration of the VSM, the following measurements aim to address two topics. The
first part covers basic magnetic characterization and the information that can be
deduced from magnetization curves. The second part cope with demagnetization.

  1. Magnetocrystaline anisotropy energy:
    Fix the Fe single crystal to the sample holder. Set H0 to 3500 G and record the
    magnetic moment of the crystal during a 360° rotation of the sample.
    Find the angles corresponding to the different crystallographhic / magnetic axes and
    record the magnetization curves of the easy axis and the hard axis.
  2. Stress induced magnetic anisotropy
    Mount a sheet sample clamped in a sample holder provided by the supervisor into the
    VSM. Record the magnetization curves of the sample with and without applied stress
    along and perpendicular to the stress direction.
    Determine the volume of each sample that you have measured