Magnetization reversal processes in epitaxial Co/Fe bi-layers grown on MgO(001)

A. Kohn, C. Wang, A. K. Petford-Long, S. G. Wang, R. C.C. Ward

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4 Scopus citations


We report on the mechanism of magnetization reversal in epitaxial Co/Fe bi-layers grown by molecular beam epitaxy on MgO(001) substrates. For Co films thicker than 5 nm, the crystal structure is hexagonal. The Fe layer follows an epitaxial relation relative to the MgO substrate of (001) [100] Fe// (001) [110] MgO. When deposited on a cubic Fe layer, the Co layer follows a bi-crystal epitaxial relation of (11 2- 0) [0001] Co// (001) 〈 100 〉 Fe as previously reported [Popova, Appl. Phys. Lett. 81, 1035 (2002); Wang, J. Appl. Phys. 101, 09D103 (2007)]. The magnetization reversal in-plane follows a cubic fourfold symmetry, which coincides with that of the underlying bcc Fe layer. In this study, we find that the area of each Co crystal domain spans 200-1500 nm2 and that these two domains are approximately evenly distributed. The micromagnetic reversal mechanism is a combination of coherent rotational processes and domain wall displacement. These magnetic domains are sized tens of μm and separated by predominately 90° or occasionally 180° domain walls along the Fe 〈 110 〉 and Fe 〈 100 〉 directions, respectively. The cubic anisotropy of the bi-crystalline Co layer is explained by exchange-coupling between hcp grains with perpendicular crystallographic orientation, each having in-plane uniaxial magnetic anisotropy along its respective [0001] direction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063918
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 8 Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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