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Exchange-spring-driven spin flop in an ErFe_{2}/YFe_{2} multilayer studied by x-ray magnetic circular dichroism

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.84.104428 DOI Help

Authors: G. B. G. Stenning (University of Southampton) , A. R. Buckingham (University of Southampton) , G. J. Bowden (University of Southampton) , R. C. C. Ward (Oxford University) , G. Van Der Laan (Diamond Light Source) , L. R Shelford (Diamond Light Source) , F. Maccherozzi (Diamond Light Source) , S. S. Dhesi (Diamond Light Source) , P. A. J. De Groot (University of Southampton)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Physical Review B , VOL 84 (10)

State: Published (Approved)
Published: September 2011

Abstract: X-ray magnetic circular dichroism at the Er M4,5 edge is used to study the switching behavior of the hard ErFe2 layers in an epitaxial [ErFe2(70 Å)/YFe2(150 Å)]&#8201;×&#8201;25 exchange-spring superlattice. Magnetic hysteresis loops for the Er magnetization, at temperatures T < 200 K, reveal a single irreversible switch between a vertical exchange spring and its reversed state. Experiments at T > 200 K reveal a crossover to a regime with two irreversible switching processes. Computational modeling for this system gives good agreement with the experiment, revealing that the observed high-temperature switching behavior is due to an exchange-spring-driven spin-flop-like transition. In contrast to the conventional spin-flop transition in an antiferromagnet, the increase in anisotropy energy of the hard magnetic ErFe2 layers and Fe-Fe exchange energy is overcome by a decrease in overall Zeeman energy. Computational studies also reveal two types of transitions between vertical exchange-spring and spin-flop states with first-order and second-order character.

Subject Areas: Physics

Instruments: I06-Nanoscience