Research ArticleMATERIALS SCIENCE

Control of the noncollinear interlayer exchange coupling

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Science Advances  25 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 48, eabd8861
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd8861

Abstract

Interlayer exchange coupling in transition metal multilayers has been intensively studied for more than three decades and is incorporated into almost all spintronic devices. With the current spacer layers, only collinear magnetic alignment can be reliably achieved; however, controlling the coupling angle has the potential to markedly expand the use of interlayer exchange coupling. Here, we show that the coupling angle between the magnetic moments of two ferromagnetic layers can be precisely controlled by inserting a specially designed magnetic metallic spacer layer between them. The coupling angle is controlled solely by the composition of the spacer layer. Moreover, the biquadratic coupling strength, responsible for noncollinear alignment, is larger than that of current materials. These properties allow for the fabrication and study of not yet realized magnetic structures that have the potential to improve existing spintronic devices.

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