Differences observed in properties of ternary NiCoFe films electrodeposited at low and high pH
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Ternary NiCoFe films were potentiostatically electrodeposited from the electrolytes with low (3.0) and high (3.6) pH levels, and differences in their compositional, structural, magnetic and magnetoresistance properties were studied. The compositional analysis demonstrated that the Ni content in the films decreased, and Co and Fe content increased while electrolyte pH was changed from low to high level. The structural analysis of the films was carried out using the X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. The XRD data revealed that the films have a strong (111) texture of the face-centred cubic (fcc) structure at low pH, while for the films at high pH a mixture of dominantly fcc and hexagonal closed packed structure was observed. The SEM studies showed that films grown at low pH level had comparatively larger grains than those at high pH. The magnetic characteristics studied by a vibrating sample magnetometer and magnetotransport properties were seen to be changed by the electrolyte pH. However, all films have in-plane magnetic anisotropy. The differences observed in the magnetic and magnetotransport properties were attributed to the microstructural changes caused by the electrolyte pH.