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Domain structure during magnetization reversal of PtMn/CoFe exchange bias micro-patterned lines

Liedke, M. O.; Potzger, K.; Bischoff, L.; Bothmer, A. H.; Hillebrands, B.; Rickart, M.; Freitas, P. P.; Fassbender, J.

Abstract

In order to investigate the relation between shape anisotropy and unidirectional anisotropy in exchange biased lines, the magnetic domain configuration during magnetization reversal was studied as a function of the ratio between both anisotropy contributions. For that purpose a number of glass / Ta 7nm / PtMn 20nm / CoFe 4nm / Ta 4nm samples were sputter deposited. By means of either optical lithography and physical etching or focus ion beam (FIB) milling several line pattern in the range between 0.5 and 2.5 µm width and 20 µm length have been prepared. In order to modify the ratio between both anisotropy contributions the exchange bias field strength was reduced by means of 5 keV He+ ion irradiation. The domain structure during magnetization reversal was then investigated by means of magnetic force microscopy. For the as-prepared samples a mono-domain magnetization state with the magnetization direction aligned along the exchange bias field direction was found regardless of its shape. After irradiation, i. e., reduction of the unidirectional anisotropy, the situation has changed completely. The homogeneous magnetization state broke up into small domains with 360° domain walls in between. The appearance of these domain walls was only observed for the descending branch of the magnetization reversal. In addition it was found that the number of domain walls created depends strongly on the stripe width and orientation.

Keywords: magnetism; ion irradiation; FIB; exchange-bias; magnetic domains; MFM

  • Poster
    Magnetism and Magnetic Materials Conference, 30.10.-03.11.2005, San Jose, USA

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