Date of this Version
JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS 110, 103914 (2011); doi:10.1063/1.3662153
Exchange coupled magnetic hard layer/soft layer thin films show a variety of complex magnetization reversal mechanisms depending on the hierarchy of interaction strengths within and between the films. Magnetization reversal can include uniform rotation, soft layer biasing, as well as exchange spring behavior. We investigate the magnetization reversal of a CoPt/Permalloy/Ta/Permalloy heterostructure. Here, Stoner-Wohlfarth-type uniform magnetization rotation of the virtually free Permalloy layer and exchange spring behavior of the strongly pinned Permalloy layer are found in the same sample. We investigate the complex magnetization reversal by polarized neutron reflectometry, magnetometry, and magneto-transport. The synergy of combining these experimental methods together with theoretical modeling is key to obtain the complete quantitative depth resolved information of the magnetization reversal processes for a multilayer of mesoscopic thickness.