The magnetic properties and the magnetoresistance behavior were investigated for electrodeposited nanoscale Co films, Co/Cu/Co sandwiches and Co/Cu multilayers with individual Co layer thicknesses ranging from 1 nm to 20 nm. The measured saturation magnetization values confirmed that the nominal and actual layer thicknesses are in fairly good agreement. All three types of layered structure exhibited anisotropic magnetoresistance for thick magnetic layers whereas the Co/Cu/Co sandwiches and Co/Cu multilayers with thinner magnetic layers exhibited giant magnetoresistance (GMR), the GMR magnitude being the largest for the thinnest Co layers. The decreasing values of the relative remanence and the coercive field when reducing the Co layer thickness down to below about 3 nm indicated the presence of superparamagnetic (SPM) regions in the magnetic layers which could be more firmly evidenced for these samples by a decomposition of the magnetoresistance vs. field curves into a ferromagnetic and an SPM contribution. For thicker magnetic layers, the dependence of the coercivity (Hc) on magnetic layer thickness (d) could be described for each of the layered structure types by the usual equation Hc=Hco+a/d n with an exponent around n=1. The common value of n suggests a similar mechanism for the magnetization reversal by domain wall motion in all three structure types and hints also at the absence of coupling between magnetic layers in the Co/Cu/Co sandwiches and Co/Cu multilayers.
- Magnetic properties
- Nanoscale magnetic layers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics