It is shown that polarized neutron reflectometry can determine in a model-free way not only the mean magnetization of a ferromagnetic thin film at any point of a hysteresis cycle, but also the mean-square dispersion of the magnetization vectors of its lateral domains. This technique is applied to elucidate the mechanism of magnetization reversal of an exchange-biased Co/CoO bilayer. The reversal process above the blocking temperature Tb is governed by uniaxial domain switching, while below Tb the reversal of magnetization for the trained sample takes place with substantial domain rotation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - Jun 1 2002|