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Lorentz electron microscopy studies of magnetization reversal processes in epitaxial Fe(001) films

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7 Author(s)
Gu, E. ; Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OHE, United Kingdom ; Bland, J.A.C. ; Daboo, C. ; Gester, M.
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The magnetic domain structure and microscopic magnetization reversal processes in epitaxial Fe/GaAs(001) films with cubic anisotropy and in‐plane easy axes have been investigated by a Lorentz microscope equipped with a magnetizing stage. For the films of a few hundred angstroms thickness we observe the single domain remanent state predicted for a two‐dimensional film but find that domains play a crucial role in the magnetic reversal process. For reversal along the in‐plane 〈110〉 directions (hard axes), magnetization reversal proceeds via a combination of coherent rotation and displacements of weakly pinned 90° domain walls at critical fields. For magnetization reversal along the in‐plane 〈100〉 directions (easy axes), an irregular checkerboard domain structure develops at the critical field and both 180° and 90° domain walls coexist. The reversal of the domains with magnetization vector opposite to the applied field direction takes place by a combination of two 90° reorientations. We discuss how these processes are related to the magnetic anisotropies present in the film and the macroscopic M‐H hysteresis curves.

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Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:76 ,  Issue: 10 )