Gilbert damping in magnetic layered systems

Barati, E.; Cinal, M.; Edwards, D. M. and Umerski, A. (2014). Gilbert damping in magnetic layered systems. Physical Review B, 90(1), article no. 014420.



The Gilbert damping constant present in the phenomenological Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert equation describing the dynamics of magnetization is calculated for ferromagnetic metallic films as well as Co/nonmagnet (NM) bilayers. The calculations are done within a realistic nine-orbital tight-binding model including spin-orbit coupling. The convergence of the damping constant expressed as a sum over the Brillouin zone is remarkably improved by introducing finite temperature into the electronic occupation factors and subsequent summation over the Matsubara frequencies. We investigate how the Gilbert damping constant depends on the ferromagnetic film thickness as well as on the thickness of the nonmagnetic cap in Co/NM bilayers (NM=Cu, Pd, Ag, Pt, and Au). The obtained theoretical dependence of the damping constant on the electron-scattering rate, describing the average lifetime of electronic states, varies substantially with the ferromagnetic film thickness and it differs significantly from the dependence for bulk ferromagnetic metals. The presence of nonmagnetic caps is found to largely enhance the magnetic damping in Co/NM bilayers in accordance with experimental data. Unlike Cu, Ag, and Au a particularly strong enhancement is obtained for Pd and Pt caps. This is attributed to the combined effect of the large spin-orbit couplings of Pd and Pt and the simultaneous presence of d states at the Fermi level in these two metals. The calculated Gilbert damping constant also shows an oscillatory dependence on the thicknesses of both ferromagnetic and nonmagnetic parts of the investigated systems which is attributed to quantum-well states. Finally, the expression for contributions to the damping constant from individual atomic layers is derived. The obtained distribution of layer contributions in Co/Pt and Co/Pd bilayers proves that the enhanced damping which affects the dynamics of the magnetization in the Co film originates mainly from a region within the nonmagnetic part of the bilayer. Such a nonlocal damping mechanism, related to spin pumping, is almost absent in other investigated bilayers: Co/Cu, Co/Ag, and Co/Au.

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