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The role of the interlayer Fermi surface in driving oscillatory exchange coupling of ferromagnetic layers has been critically tested in a series of MBE-grown coherent epitaxial sandwiches prepared on single-crystal substrates. The wedge-shaped Cu (or Cu-based) interlayers have been modified in a number of different ways, achieving orientational, compositional and structural alteration of the Cu Fermi surface. Observed phenomena include multiperiodic coupling oscillations in both the ferromagnetically and antiferromagnetically coupled regions of (lOO) -oriented Co/Cu/Co samples, extended oscillatory periods across CuNi alloy interlayers, and extremely short-period oscillations in a bcc (100) Fe/Cu/Fe system. These phenomena are straightforwardly explained in terms of calculated Fermi surface variations.
The growth of CoO and Fe3O4 single crystalline layers has been studied. CoO and Fe3O4 can be grown under similar growth conditions in a small pressure window. (001) oriented CoO/Fe3O4 multilayers were grown on MgO and MgAl2O4 substrates. On MgO substrates coherent heteroepitaxial growth was observed in the multilayers resulting in high crystalline quality multilayer structures with 0.018° FWHM of the multilayer rocking curve. The mean interface roughness is 4Å as determined by low angle X-ray reflection measurements and HRTEM observations.
Multilayers composed of oxides including Fe3O4, CoxFe3−x, O4, CoO, NiO and MgO have been grown epitaxially by MBE on MgO(100) single crystal substrates. These structures can be grown with a high crystallinity in the form of flat layers having sharp interfaces. RHEED studies which commonly yielded sharp streaks accompanied by Kikuchi lines show that, for instance, growth of CoO on Fe3O4 changes the RHEED pattern from that consistent with a spinel structure to that of a rocksalt structure within about one and a half unit cell of CoO. STM studies on a 400 Å Fe3O4 layer displaying atomic resolution enabled us to identify the origin of the reconstruction that one commonly observes in the RHEED and LEED patterns for magnetite. Regarding important fundamental magnetic parameters, relevant thickness dependencies were mapped out using localized magneto-optical Kerr effect experiments performed on several samples that routinely included one or multiple wedge shaped layers. These studies revealed the existence of a region in the Fe3O4 layer near the interfaces which exhibits no net magnetic moment, strain driven perpendicular orientated magnetization for the CoO/Fe3O4(100) and CoO/CoxFe3−xO4(100) bilayer systems, and information on the thickness dependence of the magnetic interlayer coupling across an MgO spacer layer.
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