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We show in this article the first full three dimensional measurements of switching fields of a nanometer-scale magnetic particle. The field direction dependence of the switching fields can be successfully described by the uniform rotation model. Nevertheless, we could see that the Stoner–Wohlfarth form for the anisotropy function, which is often assumed together with the uniform rotation model, is an oversimplification. In order to reproduce the measured fields, one has to take into account higher order anisotropy terms. The complete form of the anisotropy function seems to be accessible only by magnetic measurements on each individual nanoparticle. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.