Ferromagnetism at the interfaces of antiferromagnetic FeRh epilayers

Raymond Fan, Christy J. Kinane, Timothy M Charlton, Mark De Vries, P Dorner, Mannan Ali, Richard M D Brydson, Chrisopher H Marrows, Bryan J. Hickey, Dario A. Arena, Bryan K Tanner, Gareth Nisbet, Sean Langridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The nanoscale magnetic structure of FeRh epilayers has been studied by polarized neutron reflectometry. Epitaxial films with a nominal thickness of 500 angstrom were grown on MgO (001) substrates via molecular-beam epitaxy and capped with 20 angstrom of MgO. The FeRh films show a clear transition from the antiferromagnetic (AF) state to the ferromagnetic (FM) state with increasing temperature. Surprisingly the films possess a FM moment even at a temperature 80 K below the AF-FM transition temperature of the film. We have quantified the magnitude and spatial extent of this FM moment, which is confined to within similar to 60-80 angstrom of the FeRh near the top and bottom interfaces. These interfacial FM layers account for the unusual effects previously observed in films with thickness <100 angstrom. Given the delicate energy balance between the AF and FM ground states we suggest a metastable FM state resides near to the interface within an AF matrix. The length scale over which the FM region resides is consistent with the strained regions of the film.
Original languageEnglish
Article number184418
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical review B: Condensed matter and materials physics
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2010

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