Uniaxial magnetic anisotropy in three-bilayer Co/Cu and Co/Al superlattices

In Thin Solid Films


We present the magnetic properties of three-bilayer superlattices [Co(0.8 nm)/Cu(1.1 nm)]3 and Co(0.8 nm)/Al(2.2 nm)]3 grown by magnetron sputter deposition on SiO2 substrates. Using the surface magneto-optical Kerr effect we observed longitudinal magnetic hysteresis loops with low coercivity values of <17 × 10−4 T and <7 × 10−4 T from Co/Cu and Co/Al superlattices, respectively. From the hysteresis loops as a function of in-plane azimuthal angle of the Co/Cu and Co/Al superlattices, we observed an in-plane uniaxial anisotropy in coercivity and squareness. Using a four-point square configuration we observed positive and negative anisotropic magnetoresistances (AMR) with values +0.5% and −0.5% from Co/Cu superlattice depending on whether the applied current is perpendicular or parallel to the applied magnetic field direction, respectively. The surface morphology including vertical root-mean-square roughness and lateral correlation length were examined by atomic force microscopy. The number of bilayers and the thicknesses of Co, Cu and Al in the superlattices were examined by X-ray reflectivity. The observed magnetic properties were correlated to the interface roughness and layer thickness. The low coercivity, low saturation field, near-one squareness, and finite MR value of the three-bilayer Co/Cu superlattice has potential applications in low magnetic field detection and sensors.

Yu Xiang
Yu Xiang
Applied Scientist

PhD in Physics, Applied Scientist.