Asymmetric domain nucleation and unusual magnetization reversal in ultrathin Co films with perpendicular anisotropy

We report unexpected phenomena during magnetization reversal in ultrathin Co films and Co/Pt multilayers with perpendicular anisotropy. Using magneto-optical Kerr microscopy and magnetic force microscopy we have observed asymmetrical nucleation centers where the reversal begins for one direction of the field only and is characterized by an acute asymmetry of domain-wall mobility. We have also observed magnetic domains with a continuously varying average magnetization, which can be explained in terms of the coexistence of three magnetic phases: up, down, and striped.
perpendicular anisotropy, unusual magnetization reversal, ultrathin Co films, asymmetric domain nucleation, magnetic thin films, magnetic multilayers, asymmetrical nucleation centers, magnetic force microscopy, Kerr magneto-optical effect, cobalt, magnetic domains, domain-wall mobility, Co-Pt
Physical Review Letters 16 March 2007, vol.98, no.11, pp. 117204/1-4