Effect of anisotropy on the critical antiferromagnet thickness in exchange-biased bilayers

M. S. Lund, W. A A Macedo, Kai Liu, J. Nogués, Ivan K. Schuller, C. Leighton

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The dependence of exchange bias on antiferromagnet thickness has been measured in FeF2/Fe and MnF2/Fe bilayers. The two fluoride systems have identical crystal structures, similar lattice constants, but anisotropy fields that differ by a factor of 20. Hence, by comparing the antiferromagnetic layer thickness dependence of the exchange bias in the two systems we are able to directly establish the effect of the antiferromagnet anisotropy. We find that the critical antiferromagnet thickness for the onset of exchange biasing is an order of magnitude smaller for the more anisotropic fluoride, confirming the often-used assumption that the anisotropy dictates the critical thickness. By measuring the temperature dependence of the exchange bias and the structural morphology of the layers we are able to prove that the effects we observe are not due to the blocking-temperature thickness dependence or the onset of discontinuity in thin antiferromagnet layers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054422
Pages (from-to)544221-544227
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002


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