Metal ceramic interfaces are important in applications as diverse as magnetic storage media to support catalysts. Understanding the correlation between the films structure and its properties is very important for applications. For example the lattice mismatch between substrate and epilayer during heteroepitaxial growth induces strain as well as defects on the structure of the films that in turn affect the magnetic properties.
We have previously shown that it is possible to obtain epitaxial (001) and (111) Ni films grown on MgO substrates.  In particular we observed that the crystalline quality of the films improved considerably after 10 nm of film growth and annealing of the films indicated significant reduction of the surface roughness. In addition, after annealing (001) Ni films we observed nano-patterning of the surface through self-assembly of periodic “stripes”.
We will now present our analysis of the magnetic properties of these films, in particular the azimuthal dependence of the magnetization reversal, using MOKE, and we will attempt to correlate our findings with the surface characterization obtained with STM.