We report the direct epitaxial growth of equiatomic ordered antiferromagnetic PtMn layers by molecular beam epitaxy. Such layers are used in giant magnetoresistance spin valve sensors as the antiferromagnetic pinning layer. Structural characterization and phase identification confirmed the spontaneous formation of the chemically ordered face-centered-tetragonal (L 10) phase of PtMn with about 87.4% ordering. Based on the antiferromagnetic PtMn layer, we prepared exchange-biased PtMnNiFe bilayers with various PtMn thicknesses. The exchange anisotropy field of the bilayer with NiFe grown on PtMn stabilizes at about 50 Oe beyond a PtMn thickness of 15 nm. Although the exchange anisotropy field is small compared to that of the polycrystalline system, the antiferromagnetic domain structure is stable over repetitive external magnetic field cycling and no training effect is observed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)