The objective of this study on the iconic exchange-bias bilayer Permalloy/CoO has been to identify those elements of the interfacial microstructure and accompanying magnetic properties that are responsible for the exchange-bias and hysteretic properties of this bilayer. Both epitaxial and polycrystalline samples were examined. X-ray and neutron reflectometry established that there existed an interfacial region, of width ∼1 nm, whose magnetic properties differed from those of Py or CoO. A model was developed for the interfacial microstructure that predicts all the relevant properties of this system; namely; the temperature and Permalloy thickness dependence of the exchange-bias, HEX, and coercivity, HC; the much smaller measured values of HEX from what was nominally expected; the different behavior of HEX and HC in epitaxial and polycrystalline bilayers. A surprising result is that the exchange-bias does not involve direct exchange-coupling between Permalloy and CoO, but rather is mediated by CoFe2O4 nanoparticles in the interfacial region.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)