First-principles electronic structure studies based on local spin density functional theory and performed on extremely complex simulations of ever increasingly realistic systems, play a very important role in explaining and predicting surface and interface magnetism. This review deals with what is a major issue for first-principles theory, namely the theoretical/computational treatment of the weak spin–orbit coupling in magnetic transition metals and their alloys and its important physical consequences: magneto-crystalline anisotropy, magnetostriction, magneto-optical Kerr effects and X-ray magnetic circular dichroism. As is demonstrated, extensive first-principles calculations and model analyses now provide simple physical insights and guidelines to search for new magnetic recording and sensor materials.
- Magneto-crystalline anisotropy
- Magneto-optical Kerr effects
- Spin–orbit coupling
- X-ray magnetic circular dichroism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics