Supported core-shell Ni/NiO/CoO nanoparticle (NP) films were obtained by deposition of preformed and mass-selected Ni NPs on a buffer layer of CoO, followed by a top CoO layer. The resulting NPs have core/shell morphology, with a McKay icosahedral Ni core and a partially crystalline CoO shell. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy evidenced the presence of a thin NiO layer, which was shown to be between the Ni core and the CoO shell by elemental TEM mapping. CoO and NiO shells with different thickness values were obtained, allowing us to investigate the evolution of the magnetic properties of the NP assemblies as a function of the oxide shell thickness. Both exchange-coupling and magnetostatic interactions significantly contribute to the magnetic behavior of Ni/NiO/CoO NP films. After the Ni/NiO/CoO NPs are cooled in a weak magnetic field, they have blocking temperature higher than room temperature because of strong magnetostatic interactions, which support the formation of a spin-glass-like state below similar to 250 K. Exchange coupling dominates the magnetic behavior after the NPs are cooled in a strong magnetic field. The exchange bias (EB) is in the 0.17-2.35 kOe range and strongly depends on the CoO thickness (0.4-2.7 nm), showing the onset of the EB at the few-nanometer scale. The switching field distribution showed that the EB opposes the magnetization reversal from the direction along the cooling field but it does not significantly ease the opposite process. The EB depends on t(CoO) only for t(NiO) <= 0.5 nm, but when NiO is 0.7 nm thick it strongly interacts with CoO and a large increase of the EB and coercivity is observed.
Steering the magnetic properties of Ni/NiO/CoO core-shell nanoparticle films: The role of core-shell interface versus interparticle interactions / Ponti, Alessandro; Ferretti, Anna M.; Capetti, Elena; Spadaro, Maria Chiara; Bertoni, Giovanni; Grillo, Vincenzo; Luches, Paola; Valeri, Sergio; D’Addato, Sergio. - In: PHYSICAL REVIEW MATERIALS. - ISSN 2475-9953. - 1:3(2017), pp. 0360011-0360011. [10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.1.036001]