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A room temperature scanning micro-Hall probe microscope (RT-SHPM) was used for imaging stray magnetic field fluctuations at the surfaces of strontium ferrite permanent magnets (SFM) in the presence of external bias fields. The RT-SHPM enables the extremely fast, non-invasive, and quantitative measurement of localized surface magnetic fields on the sub-micron-scale. A 0.8 × 0.8 μm2 GaAs/AlGaAs micro-Hall probe (300K Hall coefficient =0.3ω/G; field sensitivity=0.04 G/√Hz ) with an integrated STM tip for precise vertical positioning was used as a magnetic field sensor. External bias fields (Hex) of up to 2700 Oe were applied parallel to the easy and hard axes of thermally demagnetized SFMs. Sample areas of up to 50×50 μm were imaged at a height of 0.3 μm above the SFM surface for each Hex, with scan speeds of approximately one frame/second (128×128 pixels) enabling quasi-real time imaging in synchronization with bias field changes. RT-SHPM images of surfaces normal to the easy axis of demagnetized samples at Hex=0, clearly showed the presence of 8-15 μm sized domains and stray magnetic field fluctuations of ±200G; images of surfaces normal to the hard axis showed 20 μm sized domains with magnetic field fluctuations of ±100G. Pronounced domain movement and rotation was observed for surfaces normal to the easy axis at bias fields above 700 Oe applied along the easy axis. A good correlation was found between domain movement and vibrating sample magnetometer hysteresis measurements. The RT-SHPM system was demonstrated to be a valuable tool for the direct and non-invasive study of micro-magnetic phenomena in ferromagnetic materials.
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