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Magnetic Properties of Sputtered Ni/Al Multilayers

  • E. Tsang (a1), J. C. Cates (a2), M. Tan (a3), A. Waknis (a3), C. Alexander (a2), M.R. Parker (a4) and J.A. Barnard (a3)...

Abstract

Magnetic properties of sputtered Ni/Al multilayers have been investigated by vibrating sample magnetometry and ferromagnetic resonance. In these compositionally modulated films (CMFs) the Al ‘spacer’ layer thickness was fixed at 3.5 nm while the total Ni content of each film was held constant at 308 nm. The thickness of the individual Ni layers was varied from 4.8 to 154 nm. The CMFs showed a variety of magnetic characteristics which were dependent on the thickness of the Ni layers. CMFs with Ni layer thickness 30 nm and above showed clear evidence of perpendicular anisotropy. This anisotropy is characterized by low-remanence perpendicular hysteresis loops of the type commonly found in CoCr alloy films. As the Ni layer thickness diminishes the perpendicular anisotropy decreases and is eventually lost. Simultaneously, the CMFs show increasing in-plane remanence, rising to a peak squareness of greater than 0.5 at a Ni layer thickness of 11 nm. As the Ni thickness continues to decrease, the remanence again declines. At Ni thicknesses of a few nm the CMFs become quasi-superparamagnetic. These CMFs do not show a monotonic reduction in saturation magnetization, Ms, with decreasing Ni layer thickness. Instead, both Ms and the coercivity, Hc, pass through a maximum in the region of 40–80 nm Ni layer thickness. FMR measurements were also made on these films. A plot of the effective anisotropy field produces data of a similar form to the Ms versus Ni layer thickness plot, again with a clear maximum. The FMR data also reveals interesting resonances in the films exhibiting perpendicular anisotropy. The presence of satellite resonances adjacent to the principal resonance peaks seems to suggest, in structural terms, a two-phase system as the basis of the observed anisotropy.

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Magnetic Properties of Sputtered Ni/Al Multilayers

  • E. Tsang (a1), J. C. Cates (a2), M. Tan (a3), A. Waknis (a3), C. Alexander (a2), M.R. Parker (a4) and J.A. Barnard (a3)...

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