Polarized neutron reflectivity characterization of weakly coupled Co/Cu multilayers

J. A. Borchers*, J. A. Dura, C. F. Majkrzak, Shih-ying Hsu, R. Lolee, W. P. Pratt, J. Bass

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Room temperature resistivity studies on (1 1 1) Co(6 nm)/Cu(6 nm) multilayers with weak interlayer coupling yield a giant magnetoresistance (GMR) of several percent for the as-prepared state relative to the saturated (i.e., large magnetic field) state. After application of a magnetic field, the magnetoresistance for the coercive state is only half to two-thirds as large. Using specular and off-specular polarized neutron reflectivity, we have determined the magnetic structure of these multilayers in the as-prepared and coercive states. Measurements of as-prepared samples show a strong antiparallel correlation of in-plane ferromagnetic Co domains across the Cu interlayers. At the coercive field, the Co domains are uncorrelated along the growth direction. Thus, the larger GMR for the as-prepared state arises from long-range antiparallel magnetic order along the growth-axis direction that is destroyed upon application of a magnetic field. For both the as-prepared and coercive states, the size of the in-plane ferromagnetic domains is approximately 0.5-1.5 μm. These domains give rise to pronounced diffuse scattering in rocking curves through the antiferromagnetic peak position.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-166
Number of pages5
JournalPhysica B: Condensed Matter
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2000
Event6th International Conference on Surface X-ray and Neutron Scattering (SXNS-6) - Noordwijkerhout, Neth
Duration: 12 Sep 199917 Sep 1999


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