Europhys. Lett.
Volume 65, Number 4, February 2004
Page(s) 560 - 566
Section Condensed matter: electronic structure, electrical, magnetic, and optical properties
Published online 01 February 2004
Europhys. Lett., 65 (4) , pp. 560-566 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-10111-6

Direct observation of the interlayer exchange coupling mechanism in a magnetic [ $\chem{Er\vert Tb}$] multilayer

J. Voigt1, E. Kentzinger1, U. Rücker1, D. Wermeille2, D. Hupfeld1, W. Schweika1, W. Schmidt1, 3 and Th. Brückel1

1  Institut für Festkörperforschung, Forschungszentrum Jülich - 52425 Jülich, Germany
2  Ames Laboratory-US DOE and Department of Physics and Astronomy Iowa State University - Ames, IO 50011, USA
3  Institute Laue-Langevin - BP 156, F-38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France

(Received 15 October 2003; accepted 3 December 2003)

Proximity effects in an [ $\chem{Er_{20}\vert Tb_{5}}$] superlattice lead to the formation of new magnetic phases. Modulated magnetic order, expected for pure $\chem{Er}$, and ferromagnetic order, expected for pure $\chem{Tb}$, coexist at low temperatures. Employing X-ray resonance exchange scattering, we could probe directly the respective spin polarisations of the conduction band electrons, providing a mechanism for the interlayer coupling. The different anisotropies of $\chem{Er}$ and $\chem{Tb}$ compete with this tendency to long-range magnetic order, leading to substantial thermal-hysteresis effects.

75.75.+a - Magnetic properties of nanostructures.
75.25.+z - Spin arrangements in magnetically ordered materials (including neutron and spin-polarized electron studies, synchrotron-source X-ray scattering, etc.).
61.18.Fs - Magnetic resonance techniques; Mössbauer spectroscopy.

© EDP Sciences 2004