The extensive research done on interlayer exchange coupling in transition metal multilayers has resulted in a deep understanding of this coupling and a remarkable agreement between theoretical results and measurements. The coupling between two magnetic layers separated by a non-magnetic spacer layer is mediated by the electrons of the spacer layer. The coupling, which oscillates in sign as a function of the thickness of the spacer layer, is closely related to the well known RKKY interaction between magnetic impurities. Due to the existence of many high-quality measurements, it has been much more fully developed theoretically than the interaction between impurities. Theory predicts that the periods of the oscillatory coupling should depend on critical spanning vectors of the Fermi surface belonging to the spacer layer material. There is remarkable agreement for the measured periods and those predicted from the Fermi surfaces. There is also substantial agreement between theory and experiment on the strength of the coupling. This review presents the comparison between theory and experiment in some detail.
Citation: Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials
Pub Type: Journals
electron states, exchange coupling, Fermi surfaces, interface reflection, magnetic multilayers