We present a study of cavity enhancement of the magneto-optic Kerr effect using dielectric multilayers in order to facilitate optical studies of individual single-domain nanomagnets. We develop a transfer matrix theory to analyze Kerr rotation from an arbitrary number of possibly lossy dielectric layers. The combination of one lossless and one thin metallic layer is found to be most favorable for studying individual nanomagnets, providing the best tradeoff between signal enhancement and spatial resolution. Accounting for the microscopic surface structure, we find good agreement between theory and experiment. Using this technique, we demonstrate Kerr enhancements by a factor of more than 16.
(c) 2004 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Applied Physics Letters and may be found at http://link.aip.org/link/?APPLAB/85/431/1 ;