Publication
Journal of Applied Physics
Paper

Exchange anisotropy in NiFe layers coupled with multilayered MnFe/MnFeCr (abstract)

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Abstract

The exchange anisotropy in a ferromagnetic NiFe layer coupled with an antiferromagnetic MnFe layer can be used to stabilize the single domain state of a magnetoresistive sensor,1 but this technology may be limited by the high corrosion sensitivity of MnFe. It is possible to improve the corrosion resistance of MnFe through impurity doping, e.g., MnFeCr with Cr concentrations of 3-12 at. %,2 but this technique will at the same time degrade the exchange anisotropy. In this work, we have investigated the exchange anisotropy in NiFe layers coupled with multilayered MnFe/MnFeCr. The samples had a configuration of glass substrates, followed by a NiFe (300 Å) layer, followed by a MnFe(x Å)/MnFeCr(y Å) multilayer, where the antiferromagnetic multilayer had either MnFe or MnFeCr interfacing with the NiFe and had a fixed total thickness of 240 Å. They were prepared by rf diode sputtering and, after a Ta (200 Å) protective layer deposition, were thermally cycled to a maximum temperature of 250°C. The results can be summarized as follows: (1) The anisotropy energy, EUA, near the room temperature ranged from 0.03 to 0.10 erg/cm2; it was determined mostly by the antiferromagnetic layer (MnFe or MnFeCr) at the NiFe interface and was essentially independent of the rest of antiferromagnetic structure. (2) The critical temperature, TC, range from 90 to 160°C; it was determined mostly by the relative amounts of MnFe and MnFeCr in the entire antiferromagnetic structure and not just at the NiFe interface. These results implied that, while one could improve the anisotropy energy at lower temperatures simply by improving the antiferromagnetic layer near the NiFe interface, to improve the anisotropy energy at higher temperatures one must improve the entire antiferromagnetic layer.

Date

01 Dec 1991

Publication

Journal of Applied Physics

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