Quantifying exchange coupling in segregated granular materials

C. Morrison, L. Saharan, Y. Ikeda, K. Takano, G. Hrkac, T. Thomson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The volume of a magnetic grain, together with its anisotropy, determines the probability of thermally activated reversal. Thus for grain volume distributions where the median volume is close to the superparamagnetic limit there will be a sub-set of grains which are either superparamagnetic on the time scale of a typical magnetic measurement (10 s), or the reverse due to magnetostatic fields from surrounding grains. We use this effect to probe exchange coupling in segregated granular materials, using CoCrPt-SiOx granular recording media as model systems. As the film thickness is reduced below 10 nm, the remanent magnetization of these films decreases, due to thermal activation and magnetostatic reversal. Varying film thickness and temperature allows us to thermally select a population of grains that contribute to the measurement. Exchange coupling is characterized by the angle dependence of remanent coercivity where we associate a breaking of symmetry from the Stoner-Wohlfarth model towards the Kondorsky model as a measure of the incoherency of reversal. Combining these models allows an estimate to be made of the volume fraction of grains that are exchange coupled and we find that, for well segregated CoCrPt-SiOx media, approximately 8% of the magnetic volume undergoes some degree of exchange coupling. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number475002
    JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
    Issue number47
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2013


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