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Sci Rep. 2013;3:2412. doi: 10.1038/srep02412.

The antiferromagnetic structures of IrMn3 and their influence on exchange-bias.

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Department of Materials Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.


We have determined the magnetic structures of single-crystal thin-films of IrMn3 for the crystallographic phases of chemically-ordered L12, and for chemically-disordered face-centred-cubic, which is the phase typically chosen for information-storage devices. For the chemically-ordered L12 thin-film, we find the same triangular magnetic structure as reported for the bulk material. We determine the magnetic structure of the chemically-disordered face-centred-cubic alloy for the first time, which differs from theoretical predictions, with magnetic moments tilted away from the crystal diagonals towards the face-planes. We study the influence of these two antiferromagnetic structures on the exchange-bias properties of an epitaxial body-centred-cubic Fe layer showing that magnetization reversal mechanism and bias-field in the ferromagnetic layer is altered significantly. We report a change of reversal mechanism from in-plane nucleation of 90° domain-walls when coupled to the newly reported cubic structure towards a rotational process, including an out-of-plane magnetization component when coupled to the L12 triangular structure.

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