Europhys. Lett.
Volume 48, Number 2, October 1999
Page(s) 221 - 227
Section Condensed matter: electronic structure, electrical, magnetic and optical properties
Published online 01 September 2002
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i1999-00469-9

Europhys. Lett, 48 (2), pp. 221-227 (1999)

Designing nanostructured magnetic materials by symmetry

R. P. Cowburn, D. K. Koltsov, A. O. Adeyeye and M. E. Welland

Nanoscale Science Group, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK

(received 24 June 1999; accepted 30 August 1999)

PACS. 75.30Gw - Magnetic anisotropy.
PACS. 75.50Tt - Fine-particle systems.
PACS. 78.20Ls - Magnetooptical effects.


We have investigated experimentally the influence of the geometric shape of deep sub-micron nanomagnets on their magnetic properties. We have used high-resolution electron beam lithography to make arrays of nanomagnets in the size range 40-500 nm which had rectangular, triangular, square and pentagonal geometries, corresponding, respectively, to rotational symmetries of order 2, 3, 4 and 5. The parent material was Supermalloy ($\rm Ni_{80}Fe_{14}Mo_5$). We find that an enormously wide range of magnetic properties, including some not found in conventional unstructured materials, can be obtained by using different geometries. We demonstrate that this is because the geometric shape imposes a strong anisotropy field of related symmetry order on the nanomagnet via a recently discovered phenomenon called configurational anisotropy. We show that the coercive field and remanence of these structures is determined directly by this anisotropy.


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