Cinal, M. and Umerski, Andrey
Magnetic anisotropy of vicinal (001) fcc Co films: Role of crystal splitting and structure relaxation in the step-decoration effect.
Physical Review B, 73
The uniaxial in-plane magnetic anisotropy (UIP-MA) constant is calculated for a single step on the (001) surface of fcc Co(N) films. The calculations are done for both an undecorated step and the step decorated with one or more, up to seven, Cu wires. Our objective is to explain the mechanisms by which the decoration decreases the UIP-MA constant, which is the effect observed experimentally for ultrathin Co films deposited on vicinal (001) Cu surfaces and can lead to reorientation of magnetization within the film plane. Theoretical calculations performed with a realistic tight-binding model show that the step decoration changes the UIP-MA constant significantly only if the splitting between the on-site energies of various d-orbitals is included for atoms located near the step edge. The local relaxation of atomic structure around the step is also shown to have a significant effect on the shift of the UIP-MA constant. The influence of these two relevant factors is analyzed further by examining individual contributions to the UIP-MA constant from atoms around the step. The magnitude of the obtained UIP-MA shift agrees well with experimental data. It is also found that an additional shift due to possible charge transfer between Cu and Co atoms is very small.
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