A single monolayer (ML) of Cr was found to have a significant effect on the magnetic properties of subsequently deposited ultra-thin epitaxial Co layers. Brillouin light scattering (BLS) indicated that the Cr interlayer reversed the sign of the interface contribution to the total perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) of the Co. The negative value of the interfacial anisotropy term implied in-plane behavior. As a result, the samples with Cr became in-plane at about 11 ML of Co (1 ML of Co is about 0.2 nm), but the structures without Cr, while behaving qualitatively similar, exhibited higher total PMA and became in-plane at about 13 ML of Co. This behavior was also confirmed using perpendicular magneto-optic Kerr effect measurements. These results suggested that the in-plane nature of the interface anisotropy term for those samples with Cr was significant in determining their greater sensitivity to increased Co thickness. The impact of interdiffusion at the Cr/Co interface should not be neglected; by itself Cr is antiferromagnetic, and as an additive to Co and with no diffusion to grain boundaries (these films are single crystal), a greater effect from it is expected than from simple diluents such as Cu or Au. A monotonic decrease in magnetization with decreasing Co thickness was observed, but only for the samples with Cr, further suggesting the importance of interdiffusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)