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J Phys Condens Matter. 2018 Jan 10;30(1):015806. doi: 10.1088/1361-648X/aa9ba7. Epub 2017 Dec 5.

45° sign switching of effective exchange bias due to competing anisotropies in fully epitaxial Co3FeN/MnN bilayers.

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Department of Materials Physics, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8603, Japan.


We report an unusual angular-dependent exchange bias effect in ferromagnet/antiferromagnet bilayers, where both ferromagnet and antiferromagnet are epitaxially grown. Numerical model calculations predict an approximately 45° period for the sign switching of the exchange-bias field, depending on the ratio between magnetocrystalline anisotropy and exchange-coupling constant. The switching of the sign is indicative of a competition between a fourfold magnetocrystalline anisotropy of the ferromagnet and a unidirectional anisotropy field of the exchange coupling. This predicted unusual angular-dependent exchange bias and its magnetization switching process are confirmed by measurements on fully epitaxial Co3FeN/MnN bilayers by longitudinal and transverse magneto-optic Kerr effect magnetometry. These results provide a deeper understanding of the exchange coupling phenomena in fully epitaxial bilayers with tailored materials and open up a complex switching energy landscape engineering by anisotropies.


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