News Release

Study on Magnetic Force Microscopy wins 2023 Advances in Magnetism Award

Analysis of finite size effects reveals significant consequences for density measurements.

Grant and Award Announcement

American Institute of Physics

Michael Vaka


Michael Vaka, author of study on magnetic force microscopy, wins 2023 Advances in Magnetism Award

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Credit: Vaka/Cooper

MELVILLE, N.Y., November 3, 2023 – An examination of the impact of image size on measurements from magnetic force microscopy has won the Advances in Magnetism Award, sponsored by AIP Advances, published by AIP Publishing.

The paper, “Finite image size effects on the characterization of magnetic domain patterns via magnetic force microscopy,” was selected as the winner from nearly 200 papers submitted as part of the 2022 Magnetism and Magnetic Materials conference. Michael Vaka, now a data engineer at Zontal, was awarded a cash prize and a travel stipend to next year’s conference for his work, performed at Brigham Young University under the supervision of Karine Chesnel.

Vaka said he was surprised, but pleased, to receive the award.

“I didn’t expect to provoke this much of a response,” said Vaka. “But now that the award is here, I am extremely grateful, and the paper turned out to be quite useful for our current research in magnetic imaging.”

Magnetic force microscopy is a valuable tool for measuring the density of magnetic domains, a crucial factor affecting the performance of magnetic storage devices. Because the images produced by this method are so time-consuming to make, many researchers limit their size. Vaka and his co-authors demonstrated that smaller image sizes can significantly alter these density measurements.

Out of nearly 200 eligible submissions, publication editors chose 8-10 finalists, and a selection committee named Vaka and his paper as the winner.

“Much of the existing literature has focused on different types of individual defects,” said a selection committee member. “This paper makes the next leap, by allowing multiple defects and defect types to coexist close together, and then calculates the resulting data and analyzes said data. It was an excellent paper, and I would expect it to have a major impact on the field.”

Vaka hopes this award will help to further his career in physics.

“I’m still in between my bachelor’s education and my master’s education, so I plan to use this award to aid in continuing my education,” Vaka said.

To be eligible for the Advances in Magnetism Award, an MMM conference paper must be accepted for publication in AIP Advances. An award selection committee reviews papers nominated by the publication editors who are handling the manuscripts for a current MMM conference. The award is given to the first author of the winning paper. The award includes a $3,500 cash prize and a $2,500 travel allowance for the next in-person MMM conference.

Contact for questions about eligibility, the selection process, or the award.



AIP Advances is an open access journal publishing in all areas of physical sciences—applied, theoretical, and experimental. The inclusive scope of AIP Advances makes it an essential outlet for scientists across the physical sciences.


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