Structural order and magnetic anisotropy transition in Co/Fe multilayers

Carbucicchio, M.; Bennett, S.; Berry, Frank; Prezioso, M.; Rateo, M. and Turilli, G. (2003). Structural order and magnetic anisotropy transition in Co/Fe multilayers. Journal of Applied Physics, 93(10) pp. 7631–7633.



Co/Fe multilayers were electron-beam evaporated in ultrahigh vacuum onto quartz substrates keeping the Co layer thickness (10 nm) constant and changing that of Fe (10-30 nm). For Fe layer thicknesses up to 24 nm, the magnetization substantially lies in the film plane and shows a uniaxial magnetic anisotropy. The coercive field measured along the easy axis is similar to10 Oe, and the x-ray reflectivity patterns show a superlattice behavior. For a Fe layer thickness equal to 30 nm, the in-plane texture strongly decreases, the coercive field increases up to similar to100 Oe, the magnetization direction forms an out-of-plane angle of similar to36degrees and a stripe magnetic domain structure takes place. The observed in-plane anisotropy and the changing in the magnetic order as a function of the iron layer thickness is discussed and justified, assuming that the growth of the first Co layer occurs by the nucleation of ordered zones, influencing the subsequent layer order via exchange interaction.

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