Training in exchange bias systems plays an essential role in understanding the very origin of the biasing effect. The nonequilibrium arrangement of antiferromagnetic (AF) spins at the antiferromagnetic-ferromagnetic interface, related to the AF uniaxial anisotropy, plays a crucial role during the initial training. Our system of choice, IrMn/CoFe, possesses softer uniaxial anisotropy compared to other AF systems (e.g., CoO), thereby reducing the energy penalty due to nonequilibrium spins. Different methods have been applied to initialize or modify the unidirectional anisotropy. We apply an in-plane field (a) during field growth, (b) during field cooling below its blocking temperature, and (c) in an in-plane magnetic field during ion irradiation, along and opposite the field applied during field growth. Magnetization reversal mechanisms were investigated during the first two field cycles to identify the role of each method on the training. A detailed analysis of polarized neutron scattering using the distorted wave Born approximation reveals a simultaneous process of domain nucleation and coherent rotation for magnetization reversal.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|State||Published - 14 Sep 2012|