Magnetization depth dependence in exchange biased thin films
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The depth dependence of the magnetization has been studied in antiferromagnet/ferromagnet (AF/FM) exchange coupled systems. Results from vector magnetometry and magneto-optical Kerr effect probing both the AF/FM and FM/air interfaces demonstrate the existence of a magnetization depth profile in FeF2/FM (FM=Fe, Ni, and Py) bilayers, contrary to the assumptions of most exchange bias models. The appearance of asymmetrical hysteresis loops below the AF Néel temperature (T_N) is explained by the creation of spring-like walls parallel to the AF/FM interface and the existence of incomplete domain walls. Changes in the reversal mechanism above T_N have also been discussed.