The growth and oxidation of vanadium ultra-thin films deposited on Fe(001) have been investigated by combining scanning tunneling microscopy and Auger electron spectroscopy. In the early stages of growth, vanadium develops a structure pseudomorphic to the Fe(001) substrate, nucleating one-layer-thick islands. At higher coverages, the growth proceeds nearly layer-by-layer, up to a thickness of about 5 atomic layers. Upon oxygen exposure, the vanadium film gets oxidized, while no signatures of the formation of iron oxides are detected in Auger spectra. As revealed by scanning tunneling microscopy images, the oxidation increases the surface roughness, suggesting the formation of an amorphous vanadium oxide layer.
In this paper, we report on the characterization of the magnetic properties of layered Fe/CoO/Fe(001) magnetic structures
by means of Magneto-Optical Kerr Effect. Hysteresis loops were acquired on samples with variable CoO thickness, from
1 nm to 4 nm, and at different temperatures, from 30 K to room temperature. This characterization offers the opportunity
of exploiting the differences in the layer-dependent sensitivity of Kerr rotation and Kerr ellipticity in order to disentangle
the contribution of the different Fe layers in the hysteresis loops. Moreover, it allows us to give a detailed overview of
the magnetic behavior of the trilayers.