Direct observation of magnetization reversal processes in micron-sized elements of spin-valve material

Chapman, J.N., Aitchison, P.R., Kirk, K.J., McVitie, S. , Kools, J.C.S. and Gillies, M.F. (1998) Direct observation of magnetization reversal processes in micron-sized elements of spin-valve material. Journal of Applied Physics, 83(10), pp. 5321-5325. (doi:10.1063/1.367358)

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Abstract

Simple calculations suggest that when continuous films of spin-valvematerial are patterned into micron-sized elements the magnetic properties should change markedly, depending on the element shape and size. We have used the differential phase contrast imaging mode of transmission electron microscopy to study directly the magnetization distributions supported by such elements in zero field and when subjected to an applied field in the pinning direction. For elements whose long axis is parallel to the pinning direction a parallel alignment of the free and pinned layers is favored. When subjected to a field a complex domain structure evolves and different irreversible paths are followed as the element is taken from negative to positive saturation and back again. By contrast, when the pinning direction is parallel to the short axis an antiparallel arrangement, where the magnetostatic contribution to the energy is effectively suppressed, can be preferred and simpler reversal mechanisms, with a higher degree of reversibility, are frequently seen.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McVitie, Professor Stephen and Chapman, Professor John
Authors: Chapman, J.N., Aitchison, P.R., Kirk, K.J., McVitie, S., Kools, J.C.S., and Gillies, M.F.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Journal of Applied Physics
Publisher:American Institute of Physics
ISSN:0021-8979
ISSN (Online):1089-7550

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