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We report the results of magnetic and microstructural studies for T/Dy (T=Fe, Co, Ni) compositionally modulated films prepared in a multiple-gun sputtering system. The perpendicular anisotropy and magnetization were measured systematically for X-Å Fe/Y-Å Dy and X-Å Co/Y-Å Dy films. The layer-thickness dependence of the magnetization for Co/Dy and Fe/Dy was interpreted in terms of the antiparallel coupling between transition-metal and Dy magnetic moments. For Co/Dy films the ranges of X and Y required for perpendicular anisotropy were determined. A comparision of the structural and magnetic properties of Ni/Dy, Co/Dy, and Fe/Dy is given and the origin of the perpendicular anisotropy is discussed. Journal of Applied Physics is copyrighted by The American Institute of Physics.