Magnetization reversal of in-plane uniaxial Co films and its dependence on epitaxial alignment

O. Idigoras, A. K. Suszka, P. Vavassori, B. Obry, B. Hillebrands, P. Landeros, A. Berger

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Abstract

This work studies the influence of crystallographic alignment onto magnetization reversal in partially epitaxial Co films. A reproducible growth sequence was devised that allows for the continuous tuning of grain orientation disorder in Co films with uniaxial in-plane anisotropy by the controlled partial suppression of epitaxy. While all stable or meta-stable magnetization states occurring during a magnetic field cycle exhibit a uniform magnetization for fully epitaxial samples, non-uniform states appear for samples with sufficiently high grain orientation disorder. Simultaneously with the occurrence of stable domain states during the magnetization reversal, we observe a qualitative change of the applied field angle dependence of the coercive field. Upon increasing the grain orientation disorder, we observe a disappearance of transient domain wall propagation as the dominating reversal process, which is characterized by an increase of the coercive field for applied field angles away from the easy axis for well-ordered epitaxial samples. Upon reaching a certain disorder threshold level, we also find an anomalous magnetization reversal, which is characterized by a non-monotonic behavior of the remanent magnetization and coercive field as a function of the applied field angle in the vicinity of the nominal hard axis. This anomaly is a collective reversal mode that is caused by disorder-induced frustration and it can be qualitatively and even quantitatively explained by means of a two Stoner-Wohlfarth particle model. Its predictions are furthermore corroborated by Kerr microscopy and by Brillouin light scattering measurements. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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