Observation of antiparallel magnetic order in weakly coupled Co/Cu multilayers

J. A. Borchers, J. A. Dura, J. Unguris, D. Tulchinsky, M. H. Kelley, C. F. Majkrzak, Shih-ying Hsu, R. Loloee, W. P. Pratt, J. Bass

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Polarized neutron reflectivity and scanning electron microscopy with polarization analysis are combined to determine the magnetic structure of Co(6 nm)/Cu(6 nm) multilayers. These data resolve a controversy regarding the low-field state of giant-magnetoresistive (GMR) multilayers with weak coupling. As-prepared samples show a strong antiparallel correlation of in-plane ferromagnetic Co domains across the Cu. At the coercive field, the Co domains are uncorrelated. This irreversible transition explains the decrease in magnetoresistance from the as-prepared to the coercive state. For both states, the Co moments reside in domains with in-plane sizes of ⍈0.5–1.5μm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2796-2799
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999


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