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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2054. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3054.

Dipolar-energy-activated magnetic domain pattern transformation driven by thermal fluctuations.

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  • 1Physics Department, Universit√§t Regensburg, Universit√§tsstrasse 31, Regensburg, Germany.


Two-dimensional ferromagnetic layers can serve as a playground for the study of basic physical properties of various pattern forming systems by virtue of their tuneable magnetic properties. Here we use threshold photoemission magnetic circular dichroism in combination with photoemission electron microscopy to investigate ultra-thin ferromagnetic Fe/Ni/Cu(001) films in the stripe domain phase near the spin reorientation transition as a function of film thickness, temperature and effective anisotropy. Here we report a metastable domain state with domain width larger than the thermodynamically stable one as a result of a rapid reduction of the anisotropy. The transformation into the equilibrium state takes place via the propagation of a transition front, which originates from defined steps in the film thickness.

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