The antiferromagnetic structures of IrMn 3 and their influence on exchange-bias

A. Kohn, A. Kovács, R. Fan, G. J. McIntyre, R. C.C. Ward, J. P. Goff

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Abstract

We have determined the magnetic structures of single-crystal thin-films of IrMn 3 for the crystallographic phases of chemically-ordered L1 2, and for chemically-disordered face-centred-cubic, which is the phase typically chosen for information-storage devices. For the chemically-ordered L1 2 thin-film, we find the same triangular magnetic structure as reported for the bulk material. We determine the magnetic structure of the chemically-disordered face-centred-cubic alloy for the first time, which differs from theoretical predictions, with magnetic moments tilted away from the crystal diagonals towards the face-planes. We study the influence of these two antiferromagnetic structures on the exchange-bias properties of an epitaxial body-centred-cubic Fe layer showing that magnetization reversal mechanism and bias-field in the ferromagnetic layer is altered significantly. We report a change of reversal mechanism from in-plane nucleation of 90domain-walls when coupled to the newly reported cubic structure towards a rotational process, including an out-of-plane magnetization component when coupled to the L1 2 triangular structure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2412
JournalScientific Reports
Volume3
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 Aug 2013

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