We introduce a novel approach to x-ray scattering studies in applied magnetic fields by exploiting vortices in superconductors. This method is based on trapping magnetic flux in a small disk-shaped superconductor (known as a trapped field magnet, TFM) with a single-crystal sample mounted on or at close proximity to its surface. This opens an unrestricted optical access to the sample and allows magnetic fields to be applied precisely along the x-ray momentum transfer, facilitating polarization-sensitive experiments that have been impractical or impossible to perform to date. The TFMs used in our study remain stable and provide practically uniform magnetic fields for days, which are sufficient for comprehensive x-ray diffraction experiments, specifically x-ray resonance exchange scattering (XRES) to study field-induced phenomena at a modern synchrotron source. The TFM instrument has been used in a “proof-of-principle” XRES study of a meta-magnetic phase in a rare-earth compound, TbNi2Ge2, in order to demonstrate its potential.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/paul_canfield/54/