Interface biquadratic coupling and magnon scattering in exchange-biased ferromagnetic thin films grown on epitaxial FeF2.

Research paper by David D Lederman, Prasanta P Dutta, Mohindar S MS Seehra, Hongtao H Shi

Indexed on: 07 Apr '12Published on: 07 Apr '12Published in: Journal of physics. Condensed matter : an Institute of Physics journal


The magnetic anisotropy of ferromagnetic (FM) Ni, Co, and Fe polycrystalline thin films grown on antiferromagnetic (AF) FeF(2)(110) epitaxial layers was studied, as a function of temperature, using ferromagnetic resonance. In addition to an in-plane anisotropy in the FM induced by fluctuations in the AF short-range order, a perpendicular (biquadratic) magnetic anisotropy, with an out-of-plane component, was found which increased with decreasing temperature above the AF Neél temperature (T(N) = 78.4 K). This is a surprising result given that the AF's uniaxial anisotropy axis was in the plane of the sample, but is consistent with prior experimental and theoretical work. The resonance linewidth had a strong dependence on the direction of the external magnetic field with respect to in-plane FeF(2) crystallographic directions, consistent with interface magnon scattering due to defect-induced demagnetizing fields. Below T(N), the exchange bias field H(E) measured via FMR for the Ni sample was in good agreement with H(E) determined from magnetization measurements if the perpendicular out-of-plane anisotropy was taken into account. A low field resonance line normally observed at H ≈ 0, associated with domain formation during magnetization in ferromagnets, coincided with the exchange bias field for T < T(N), indicating domain formation with the in-plane FM magnetization perpendicular to the AF easy axis. Thus, biquadratic FM-AF coupling is important at temperatures below and above T(N).