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Direct experimental study of the magnetization reversal process in epitaxial and polycrystalline films with unidirectional anisotropy

V.I. Nikitenko, V.S. Gornakov, L.M. Dedukh, Yu.P. Kabanov, and A.F. Khapikov
Institute of Solid State Physics
Russian Academy of Sciences
142432 Chernogolovka
Moscow District, Russia

A.J. Shapiro and R.D. Shull
Metallurgy Division
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD 20899

A. Chaiken* and R.P. Michel**
Materials Science and Technology Division
Lawrence Livermore National Lab
Livermore CA 94551

J. Appl. Phys. 83, 6828 (1998). (1998 Joint MMM-Intermag Proceedings)

Direct observation of the magnetization reversal of epitaxial NiO/NiFe bilayers grown on (001) MgO and on polycrystalline Si substrates was performed by using the magneto-optical indicator film technique. It was shown that the unidirectional-axis magnetization reversal proceeds by domain nucleation and growth. An asymmetry has been revealed in the activity of the domain nucleation centers. The remagnetization of the bilayer is shown to be governed by defect structures in the antiferromagnetic layer.

*Now at Hewlett-Packard, Mailstop 2U-20, 1501 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304.

**Now at Seagate Technology, 7801 Computer Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55435. (Alison Chaiken)