Magnetization reversal processes in epitaxial Fe/GaAs(001) films
Journal of Applied Physics
American Institute of Physics
In this article we present the results of a detailed study of the switching behavior observed in epitaxial single Fe films of thickness between 30 and 450 Å, and a wedge shaped Fe film with a thickness range of 10–60 Å grown on GaAs (001). These films have cubic and uniaxial anisotropies which change with film thickness. For the fixed thickness films the values of the anisotropy constants were accurately determined by Brillouin light scattering (BLS) measurements together with polar magneto‐optic Kerr effect (MOKE) measurements that gave the value of the magnetization. The switching behavior of these samples was observed with in‐plane MOKE magnetometry as a function of the angle between the applied field and the in‐plane crystallographic axes. Measurements of the component of magnetization perpendicular to the applied field allow a precise determination of the relative orientation of the hard and easy in‐plane anisotropy axes. This can be used to accurately determine the ratio of uniaxial to cubic anisotropy constants, when this ratio is less than one. The ratios obtained from MOKE agree well with those obtained from BLS. Minimum energy calculations predict that the reversal process should proceed by a continuous rotation of the magnetization vector with either one or two irreversible jumps, depending on the applied field orientation and the nature of the anisotropy of the film. The calculations provide a good qualitative description of the observed reversal process, although the magnetic microstructure influences the exact values of the switching fields.
Copyright © 1994 American Institute of Physics
Vol. 75 (10), pp. 5586 - 5588