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Influence of Cr Growth on Exchange Coupling in Fe/Cr/Fe(100)



Daniel T. Pierce, Joseph A. Stroscio, John Unguris, Robert Celotta


Scanning electron microscopy with polarization-analysis (SEMPA) measurements of the dependence of the oscillations of the exchange coupling in Fe/Cr/Fe(100) structures on the Cr growth temperature are correlated with the thickness fluctuations in Cr films measured by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) at similar growth temperatures. Layer-by-layer growth was observed by STM for Cr deposition on very flat Fe(100) whiskers at deposition temperatures ≥ 300°C. The SEMPA measurements of the magnetization of the Fe overlayer as a function of Cr spacer-layer thickness at this temperature could be simulated well by oscillatory coupling with periods 2.105{plus or minus}0.005d and 12{plus or minus}1d, where d is the layer spacing. Rougher Cr growth, limited by diffusion kinetics, occurs at lower growth temperatures giving a distribution of thicknesses in the growth front as determined by STM. We modeled the Fe magnetization for lower-temperature Cr growth by assuming that the exchange coupling at each discrete Cr thickness is the same as found for layer-by-layer growth. The total coupling at each average Cr spacer-layer thickness was determined by adding the weighted contribution to the coupling from each Cr layer thickness contributing to the average thickness. Thus, by taking into account the thickness fluctuations in the Cr spacer layer as determined by STM, very good agreement was obtained between the model and the SEMPA measurement of the Fe overlayer magnetization for Cr growth at lower temperatures without including other consequences of roughness at the interface, such as the breakdown of translational invariance. Important characteristic length scales and the role of biquadratic coupling in the SEMPA measurements are addressed.
Physical Review B (Condensed Matter and Materials Physics)


Pierce, D. , Stroscio, J. , Unguris, J. and Celotta, R. (1994), Influence of Cr Growth on Exchange Coupling in Fe/Cr/Fe(100), Physical Review B (Condensed Matter and Materials Physics) (Accessed May 19, 2024)


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Created January 1, 1994, Updated February 19, 2017