Journal article
Hyper-domains in exchange bias micro-stripe pattern



Publication Details
Authors:
Theis-Bröhl, K.; Westphalen, A.; Zabel, H.; Rücker, U.; McCord, J.; Höink, V.; Schmalhorst, J.; Reiss, G.; Weis, T.; Engel, D.; Ehresmann, A.; Toperverg, B.
Publication year:
2008
Journal:
New Journal of Physics
Pages range:
093021
Volume number:
10
ISSN:
1367-2630

Abstract
A combination of experimental techniques, e.g. vector-MOKE magnetometry, Kerr microscopy and polarized neutron reflectometry, was applied to study the field induced evolution of the magnetization distribution over a periodic pattern of alternating exchange bias (EB) stripes. The lateral structure is imprinted into a continuous ferromagnetic/antiferromagnetic EB bilayer via laterally selective exposure to He-ion irradiation in an applied field. This creates an alternating frozen-in interfacial EB field competing with the external field in the course of the re-magnetization. It was found that in a magnetic field applied at an angle with respect to the EB axis parallel to the stripes the re-magnetization process proceeds via a variety of different stages. They include coherent rotation of magnetization towards the EB axis, precipitation of small random (ripple) domains, formation of a stripe-like alternation of the magnetization, and development of a state in which the magnetization forms large hyper-domains comprising a number of stripes. Each of those magnetic states is quantitatively characterized via the comprehensive analysis of data on specular and off-specular polarized neutron reflectivity. The results are discussed within a phenomenological model containing a few parameters, which can readily be controlled by designing systems with a desired configuration of magnetic moments of micro- and nano-elements.


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