Materials Research Science and Engineering Center


Date of this Version

March 2003


Published by American Institute of Physics. Appl. Phys. Lett. 82, 2106 (2003). © 2003 American Institute of Physics. Permission to use.


The correlation between ferromagnetic domain formation and exchange bias in a series of NiFe/NiO samples with varying NiO thicknesses has been investigated using the magneto-optic Kerr effect and magnetic force microscopy. Below a critical thickness (15 nm) of NiO, the exchange bias HE is zero and ripple domains exist in the NiFe layer. Above this critical thickness, cross-tie type domain walls appear concurrently with the appearance of exchange bias. Both the number of cross-tie domain walls and the exchange bias increase with an increase in NiO thickness, reaching a maximum at 35 nm NiO, after which both show a gradual decrease. This variation of domain wall formation in the NiFe layer with the NiO thickness possibly reflects the variation of the domain structure in the NiO layer through interfacial exchange coupling.