Field cooling induced changes in the antiferromagnetic structure of NiO films

Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Jun 4;86(23):5389-92. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.86.5389.


The magnetic anisotropy in antiferromagnetic 500 A thick NiO films, before and after the establishment of an exchange bias field with Co84Fe16 ferromagnetic layers, was measured using magnetic linear dichroism in soft x-ray absorption. Both <111> textured NiO and untextured NiO films show exchange-bias induced in-plane magnetic anisotropy of nearly equal magnitude and with the Ni moment axis being nearly parallel to the exchange bias field direction. These results represent the first observation of the key step in the exchange biasing process, namely, repopulation of the antiferromagnetic domains whose magnetization axis is closest to the exchange bias field direction.