Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


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Published in PHYSICAL REVIEW B 72, 054446 (2005). © 2005 The American Physical Society. Used by permission.


The correlation between morphology and magnetism of ultrathin epitaxial films is investigated by a combined study of variable temperature scanning tunneling microscopy, magneto-optical Kerr effect measurements, and Kerr microscopy under ultrahigh vacuum condition. The magnetization reversal of the films was studied as a function of temperature by imaging the propagation of Bloch domain walls in situ. It is demonstrated on the example of fcc Fe films grown at 120 K on Cu(001) that changes in the morphology of the films during annealing are directly reflected in modified magnetic properties. Competing pinning mechanisms for the domain wall propagation are identified. The energy barrier distribution controlling the propagation of domain walls at low temperature is determined.

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