Role of interface coupling inhomogeneity in domain evolution in exchange bias
Marioni, Miguel A.
Hug, Hans J.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
Models of exchange-bias in thin films have been able to describe various aspects of this technologically relevant effect. Through appropriate choices of free parameters the modelled hysteresis loops adequately match experiment, and typical domain structures can be simulated. However, the use of these parameters, notably the coupling strength between the systems' ferromagnetic (F) and antiferromagnetic (AF) layers, obscures conclusions about their influence on the magnetization reversal processes. Here we develop a 2D phase-field model of the magnetization process in exchange-biased CoO/(Co/Pt)×n that incorporates the 10 nm-resolved measured local biasing characteristics of the antiferromagnet. Just three interrelated parameters set to measured physical quantities of the ferromagnet and the measured density of uncompensated spins thus suffice to match the experiment in microscopic and macroscopic detail. We use the model to study changes in bias and coercivity caused by different distributions of pinned uncompensated spins of the antiferromagnet, in application-relevant situations where domain wall motion dominates the ferromagnetic reversal. We show the excess coercivity can arise solely from inhomogeneity in the density of biasing- and anti-biasing pinned uncompensated spins in the antiferromagnet. Counter to conventional wisdom, irreversible processes in the latter are not essential. Show more
Journal / seriesScientific Reports
Pages / Article No.
PublisherNature Publishing Group
SubjectSurfaces, interfaces and thin films; Ferromagnetism; Magnetic properties and materials; Scanning probe microscopy
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