EFFECT OF SUBSTRATE SYMMETRY ON THE PREFERRED MAGNETIZATION ORIENTATION OF NI FILMS ON CU
For ultrathin Ni films grown on Cu(100) and Cu(110), the easy axis of magnetization starts out in the plane of the films. Above a critical thickness, the preferred magnetization orientation changes to perpendicular to the films. This behavior is contrary to the spin reorientation transition reported for many thin film ferromagnetic systems where the preferred magnetization orientation starts out perpendicular to the film and then switches to in-plane above a critical thickness. We report in situ surface magneto-optic Kerr effect measurements of the magnetic anisotropy as a function of film thickness. The change in the predominant domain orientation distribution occurs at 8 monolayers (MLs) for Ni on Cu(100) and at 16 ML for Ni on Cu(110). For Ni on Cu(lll) no such change is observed down to 3 ML thickness. These results are discussed in terms of competing surface anisotropy and dipole-dipole energy terms. © 1995, American Vacuum Society. All rights reserved.