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Influence of interface-related anisotropy on magnetic properties of Fe- and Co-based thin films and patterned structures

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3 Author(s)
Kazakova, O. ; National Physical Laboratory, TW11 0LW Teddington, Middlesex, United Kingdom ; Hanson, M. ; Yu, A.C.C.

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In this work, the influence of interfaces and microstructure on the magnetic properties of Fe- and Co-based thin films and patterned submicron structures was investigated. For this purpose, we studied arrays of circular and elliptical elements with identical lateral dimension, down to 150 nm, made from Fe/Co multilayer and FeCo alloy films with the same chemical composition (75 at.% Co) and thickness, t=20 nm. The samples were investigated by magnetic force microscopy and alternating gradient force magnetometry techniques. We show that the average magnetic moment meff of the material depends strongly on the local environment of Fe and Co atoms. Whereas the FeCo alloy film yields meff=1.96 μB in good agreement with the bulk value; a significant enhancement is observed in the Fe/Co multilayer with meff=2.8±0.3 μB. In arrays of patterned elements, both the local distribution of magnetic moments and the processes of magnetization reversal were found to depend on the presence of interfaces as well as the microstructure and magnetocrystalline anisotropy of the initial films. The experiments indicate a higher stability of the zero-field single domain (SD) elements of the alloy, whereas the patterns of the multilayers are characterized by the development of a simpler quasi-SD structure during magnetization reversal. We demonstrate that the Fe25C- o75 elliptical elements may change their magnetization direction by the coherent rotation of moments, whereas this process should be excluded in the Fe2/Co6 ellipses. The influence of all these parameters on the magnetic behavior and energy balance is discussed.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:96 ,  Issue: 11 )

Date of Publication:

Dec 2004

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