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Magnetic easy axis switching in ultrathin Co/Cu(110) films

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 February 2011


S. Hope
Affiliation:
Cavendish Laboratory, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OHE, U.K.
E. Gu
Affiliation:
Cavendish Laboratory, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OHE, U.K.
M. Tselepi
Affiliation:
Cavendish Laboratory, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OHE, U.K.
J.A.C. Bland
Affiliation:
Cavendish Laboratory, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 OHE, U.K.

Abstract

We have studied the magnetic properties of the Co/Cu(110) system at 300K, using the magneto-optic Kerr effect. After a given deposition of Co in the thickness range 5ML<dCo<40ML, the M-H loop is observed to evolve continuously in time until the magnetic easy axis has switched 90° from the [001] to [1–10] direction. We attribute this behaviour to the reversal in sign of the effective in-plane uniaxial anisotropy constant, due to the adsorption of submonolayer quantities of a residual gas from the UHV environment. STM images reveal the growth of elongated Co island structures preferentially oriented along the [001] direction providing ‘step like’ edge sites for gas adsorption. We find the easy axis can be switched back to the [001] direction by depositing a submonolayer Cu overlayer, and that for relatively thick Co films (>15ML) the Cu overlayer can cause the magnetisation to take up intermediate angles. We analyse this behaviour using a simple model of the effective anisotropy energies.


Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 1997

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References

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