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Effects of Interface Induced Natural Strains on Magnetic Properties of FeRh


FeRh is a unique alloy which shows temperature dependent phase transition magnetic properties. The lattice parameter (a) of this CsCl-type (B2) structure is 4.1712 Å. It undergoes a first order transition from antiferromagnetic (AFM) to ferromagnetic (FM) order at around 370K and hysteretic behavior while cooling and heating. This meta-magnetic transition of FeRh is accompanied by an isotropic expansion in the unit cell volume, which indicates strong coupling between magnetic and structural properties of FeRh. Consequently, the magnetic and transport properties, such as magnetoresistance (MR), are changed during the transition. Due to its unique thermo-magnetic behaviors, FeRh is very important for future spintronic devices. The structure could be applicable for MR devices such as memory, sensors, and many other applications. It is critical to understand how to systematically influence phase transition of FeRh from naturally applied strains. Here, we investigate magnetic properties of FeRh in different strain environments induced by the substrates with different lattice parameters. The study was performed using synchrotron radiation, temperature dependent magnetometry, and magnetic scanning probe microscopy in addition to Landau theory calculations. We found that the naturally induced strains could modulate the magnetic phase locally and globally. The presence of the segments from the nucleation of the ferromagnetic domains, with a very thin layer in the antiferromagnetic matrix and the domain growth, were observed gradually. Using the systematic phenomena, it could be used for immediate applications in the future generation of phase change random access memory (PC-RAM) devices.

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