Magneto-optical Kerr microscopy
The macroscopic properties of a magnetic material are determined by its magnetic microstructure. Therefore, domain observation is essential for the development of magnetic materials and understanding of magnetization processes. Mainly, one method of domain observation is applied at in our research group: magnetooptical microscopy.
At the most basic level magneto-optic imaging is simply based on the rotation of the plane of polarization of linearly polarized light upon reflection from a magnetic surface. The domain contrast in the image is directly sensitive to the magnitude and direction of magnetization. Arbitrary magnetic fields can be applied during observation so that domain nucleation and magnetization processes can be observed easily. Possibly the utmost advantage over other domain observation methods is the speed and time-resolution in which images can be acquired.
For examples and more detailes see: