Nanometers-Thick Ferromagnetic Surface Produced by Laser Cutting of Diamond

Materials 15(3), 1014 (2022)

A. Setzer, P.D. Esquinazi, S. Buga, M.T. Georgieva, T. Reinert, T. Venus, I. Estrela-Lopis, A. Ivashenko, M. Bondarenko, W. Böhlmann, and J. Meijer

In this work, we demonstrate that cutting diamond crystals with a laser (532 nm wavelength, 0.5 mJ energy, 200 ns pulse duration at 15 kHz) produced a ≤ 20 nm thick surface layer with magnetic order at room temperature. We measured the magnetic moment of five natural and six CVD diamond crystals of different sizes, nitrogen contents and surface orientations with a SQUID magnetometer. A robust ferromagnetic response at 300 K was observed only for crystals that were cut with the laser along the (100) surface orientation. The magnetic signals were much weaker for the (110) and negligible for the (111) orientations. We attribute the magnetic order to the disordered graphite layer produced by the laser at the diamond surface. The ferromagnetic signal vanished after chemical etching or after moderate temperature annealing. The obtained results indicate that laser treatment of diamond may pave the way to create ferromagnetic spots at its surface.