Aging and passivation of magnetic properties in Co/Gd bilayers

Thomas J. Kools (Corresponding author), Youri L.W. van Hees, Kenneth Poissonnier, Pingzhi Li, Beatriz Barcones Campo, Marcel A. Verheijen, Bert Koopmans, Reinoud Lavrijsen

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Abstract

Synthetic ferrimagnets based on Co and Gd bear promise for directly bridging the gap between volatile information in the photonic domain and nonvolatile information in the magnetic domain, without the need for any intermediary electronic conversion. Specifically, these systems exhibit strong spin-orbit torque effects, fast domain wall motion, and single-pulse all-optical switching of the magnetization. An important open challenge to bring these materials to the brink of applications is to achieve long-term stability of their magnetic properties. In this work, we address the time-evolution of the magnetic moment and compensation temperature of magnetron sputter grown Pt/Co/Gd trilayers with various capping layers. Over the course of three months, the net magnetic moment and compensation temperature change significantly, which we attribute to quenching of the Gd magnetization. We identify that intermixing of the capping layer and Gd is primarily responsible for this effect, which can be alleviated by choosing nitrides for capping as long as reduction of nitride to oxide is properly addressed. In short, this work provides an overview of the relevant aging effects that should be taken into account when designing synthetic ferrimagnets based on Co and Gd for spintronic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number042406
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Volume123
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2023

Funding

This work was part of the research program Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) and Gravitation program “Research Center for Integrated Nanophotonics,” which are financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). This work was supported by the Eindhoven Hendrik Casimir Institute (EHCI). This project has also received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No. 860060. Solliance and the Dutch province of Noord Brabant are acknowledged for funding the TEM facility. Peter Graat (Eurofins Materials Science Netherlands) is gratefully acknowledged for discussions on the TEM-EDX quantification.

FundersFunder number
Eindhoven Hendrik Casimir institute
Marie Skłodowska‐Curie860060
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek

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