This paper presents the results of our investigations on excimer laser micromachining of SmCo thin films. These films were prepared onto silicon substrate with a SiO2 layer and chromium film on the top. The ablation characteristics of the films were analysed by examining the surface topography using optical microscopy and Scanning Electron Spectroscopy (SEM). The quality of the etched patterns was evaluated in terms of sharpness of the edges, side wall profile and ratio of pattern mask size to feature size. The etch characteristics were studied over a wide range of laser parameters with the fluence in the range 0.25 J/cm2 and 1.6 J/cm2 and the number of shots varied from 1 to 50. The results showed that the precise nature of the resulting structure is a strong function of fluence and number of shots. These studies provide insight into the ablation behaviour of SmCo films and their potential applications in MEMS.
Preparation of hard magnetic SmCo thin films onto silicon substrate has been considered as one of the important steps in the realisation of magnetic MEMS devices. In this paper, we report the results of our investigations on the deposition and characterisation of these films. In particular, this paper deals with the study of the effect of argon gas pressure (10 ~ 40 mTorr) and substrate temperature (R.T. ~ 600 °C) on the composition, structure, and magnetic properties of SmCo thin films. These films were characterised using RBS, XRD and SQUID. The results indicate that the Co/Sm ratio of the films decreases with increasing argon gas pressure, but increases with increasing substrate temperature. As substrate temperature rises, both the degree of crystallinity and in-plane texturing increase, resulting in an increased in-plane intrinsic coercivity. Films prepared at lower substrate temperatures exhibit lower coercivity values due to the amorphous or partially crystallised phases in the films.