Magnetic properties of uniaxial synthetic antiferromagnets for spin-valve applications
The magnetic properties of synthetic antiferromagnetic Si(100)/Ta (5 nm)/Co(t(1))/Ru (0.65 nm)/Co(t(2))/Ta (10 nm) with an obliquely sputtered Ta underlayer are reported as a function of the top Co layer thickness, t(2). The morphological origin of the large in-plane magnetic anisotropy created by the obliquely sputtered Ta underlayer is revealed by atomic force microscopy. The magnetic anisotropy of the base Co layer is determined by measuring the dispersion of the Damon-Eshbach spin-wave mode with Brillouin light scattering. Ferromagnetic resonance measurements and hysteresis loops reveal that both the anisotropy and the saturation field of the trilayer system decrease with increasing top Co layer thickness. The dependence of the saturation field on layer thickness is fitted to an energy minimization equation that contains both bilinear and biquadratic exchange coupling constants. Magnetoresistance and polarized neutron reflectometry results both confirm that the magnetic reversal process of the system is through magnetic domain formation followed by rotation.