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Stabilizing a magnetic vortex/antivortex array in single crystalline Fe/Ag(001) microstructures

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While a magnetic antivortex state can be created in ring structures, much effort has been devoted to stabilizing a magnetic antivortex as the ground state in a single island. Among many proposals, less attention has been paid to the role of magnetocrystalline anisotropy because most magnetic microstructures are made of polycrystalline materials. By patterning epitaxial Fe/Ag(001) films along different in-plane directions, we show that the Fe magnetocrystalline anisotropy plays a very important role in stabilizing different types of vortex/antivortex states. In particular, we find that an Fe island in the shape of an elongated hexagon favors vortex array formation when the long edge is parallel to the Fe easy magnetization axis, and favors the vortex-antivortex array formation when the long edge is parallel to the Fe hard magnetization axis. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

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