Applied Physics Letters

Observation of injection and pinning of domain walls in magnetic nanowires using photoemission electron microscopy

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Photoemission electron microscopy is used to explore the injection and pinning of magnetic domain walls in 250-nm-wide, 20-nm-thick Permalloy nanowires. Domain walls are injected from a micron-sized elliptical nucleation pad at one end of the nanowire. A vortex-like structure is readily nucleated in this pad at low magnetic fields (<15 Oe), whereas injection of a domain wall into the nanowire requires significantly larger fields (∼60 Oe). Domain walls are pinned in the nanowire at notches patterned along the wire's edges. The domain walls are observed to have vortex-like structures with chiralities that vary in successive experiments. © 2005 American Institute of Physics.