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X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) has become in recent years an outstanding tool for studying magnetism. Its element specificity, inherent to core-level spectroscopy, combined with the application of magneto-optical sum rules allows quantitative magnetic measurements at the atomic level. These capabilities are now incorporated as a standard tool for studying the localized magnetism in many systems. However, the application of XMCD to the study of the conduction-band magnetism is not so straightforward. Here, it is shown that the atomic selectivity is not lost when XMCD probes the delocalized states. On the contrary, it provides a direct way of disentangling the magnetic contributions to the conduction band coming from the different elements in the material. This is demonstrated by monitoring the temperature dependence of the XMCD spectra recorded at the rare-earth L2-edge in the case of RT2 (R = rare-earth, T = 3d transition metal) materials. These results open the possibility of performing element-specific magnetometry by using a single X-ray absorption edge.

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