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Magnetic Behavior of Atomically Engineered NiO-Co-Cu-based Giant Magnetoresistance Spin Valves Pb as a Surface Modifier



H D. Chopra, E J. Repetski, H J. Brown, P J. Chen, L Swartzendruber, William F. Egelhoff Jr.


The present study illustrates the efficacy of using surface modifiers, or simply surfactants, to alter, modify, or control the nature of interfaces and film morphology in order to control physical properties in magnetic multilayers. In particular, the magnetic properties of giant magnetoresistive NiO-Co-Cu-based symmetric spin valves are discussed in relation to the modification of interfaces and nanostructure using surface modifier Pb. Results show that a ML of Pb deposited on the first Co/Cu bilayer of the symmetric spin valve leads to a reduced in-plane magnetic anisotropy and coupling. In the presence of Pb, the coherent growth mode of Co/Cu layers is disrupted, leading to a fine grain size (approximately equal} 1-5 nm) in the metal layers. Although this grain corresponds to the critical wavelength for maximum coupling due to N el s so-called orange peel effect, the absence of topographical correlation between various interfaces prevents the occurrence of this form of coupling. At the same time, averaging of exchange interactions over such a fine grain size, which is much lower than the characteristic exchange length for Co (approximately equal} 25-45 nm), precludes the display of local magnetocrystalline easy axes, thereby leading to low switching fields. The nature of magnetization reversal in the free Co layer of the Pb-free spin value is highly local in nature and occurs by nucleation, growth and coalescence together of irregular micron or sub-micron sized domains.
Acta Materialia
No. 13


giant magnetoresistance, lead, magnetic structure, magnetoresistive effects, microstructures, multilayers, spin valves, surfaces & interfaces, surfactants


Chopra, H. , Repetski, E. , Brown, H. , Chen, P. , Swartzendruber, L. and Egelhoff Jr., W. (2000), Magnetic Behavior of Atomically Engineered NiO-Co-Cu-based Giant Magnetoresistance Spin Valves Pb as a Surface Modifier, Acta Materialia (Accessed May 17, 2024)


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Created July 31, 2000, Updated October 12, 2021