Magnetization reversal processes in exchange-biased spin-valve structures

A. M. Goodman, K. O’grady, H. Laidler, N. W. Owen, X. Portier, A. K. Petford-Long, F. Cebollada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In this paper we provide an initial, qualitative description of the basic magnetization reversal processes that occur when a soft ferromagnetic layer is coupled to an antiferromagnet. We find that the magnetization reversal in the ferromagnetic layer adjacent to the antiferromagnet, i.e., the pinned layer, is dominated by thermal activation processes. We have developed, and report here, a model that accounts for seven distinct features of the magnetization curve of the pinned layer. The model is based upon the formation of domains in the antiferromagnetic layer whose growth is dominated by thermal activation processes. The thermal activation of these domain processes can result in shifts of the hysteresis loop in either direction, depending on the magnetic history of the sample and the rate of field sweep. In consequence, we call into question the current definition of the exchange field Hex typically used to characterize such systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-570
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Magnetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001


  • Exchange bias
  • FeMn
  • Spin valve
  • Thermal activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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