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Title: Magnetic coupling at rare earth ferromagnet/transition metal ferromagnet interfaces: A comprehensive study of Gd/Ni

Thin film magnetic heterostructures with competing interfacial coupling and Zeeman energy provide a fertile ground to study phase transition between different equilibrium states as a function of external magnetic field and temperature. A rare-earth (RE)/transition metal (TM) ferromagnetic multilayer is a classic example where the magnetic state is determined by a competition between the Zeeman energy and antiferromagnetic interfacial exchange coupling energy. Technologically, such structures offer the possibility to engineer the macroscopic magnetic response by tuning the microscopic interactions between the layers. We have performed an exhaustive study of nickel/gadolinium as a model system for understanding RE/TM multilayers using the element-specific measurement technique x-ray magnetic circular dichroism, and determined the full magnetic state diagrams as a function of temperature and magnetic layer thickness. We compare our results to a modified Stoner-Wohlfarth-based model and provide evidence of a thickness-dependent transition to a magnetic fan state which is critical in understanding magnetoresistance effects in RE/TM systems. In conclusion, the results provide important insight for spintronics and superconducting spintronics where engineering tunable magnetic inhomogeneity is key for certain applications.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [1] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Cambridge, Cambridge (United Kingdom)
  2. Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States); Stockholm Univ., Stockholm (Sweden)
  3. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  4. Univ. of Cambridge, Cambridge (United Kingdom); Loughborough Univ., Loughborough (United Kingdom)
  5. Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (China)
  6. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States); Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: