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We report pulsed laser deposition synthesis and characterization of polycrystalline Fe1-x Cox Si thin films on Si (111). X-ray diffraction, transmission electron, and atomic force microscopies reveal films to be dense, very smooth, and single phase with a cubic B20 crystal structure. Ferromagnetism with significant magnetic hysteresis is found for all films including nominally pure FeSi films in contrast to the very weak paramagnetism of bulk FeSi. For Fe1-x Cox Si this signifies a change from helimagnetism in bulk, to ferromagnetism in thin films. These ferromagnetic thin films are promising as a magnetic-silicide/silicon system for polarized current production, manipulation, and detection. © 2009 American Institute of Physics.

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Applied Physics Letters