Electronic structure calculations have been used to predict the magnetic anisotropy of Co/Pd, Co/Pt, Co/Cu, Fe/Pt and Fe/Ag superlattices. In the case of Co/Pd and Co/Pt, the magnetic anisotropy has been analyzed as a deconvolution of volume and interface contributions. The surprising experimental result of an orientation independent interface anisotropy of 0.63±0.05 ergs/cm2for Co/Pd superlattices is also predicted by theory. The theoretical interface anisotropy was found to be 0.62±0.06 ergs/cm2, in close agreement with experiment. This result is not universally observed, and based upon calculations for strained and unstrained superlattices appears to be a consequence of the degree of strain found in the Co/Pd system. A symmetry derived model based upon summing L(M.R)2pair interactions accurately reproduces the observed anisotropy, and the dependence upon atomic constituents, strain and growth direction.
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JMM acknowledges partial support from the Louisiana Education Quality Support Fund under grant LEQSF (1991-