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Magnetoelastic effects and random magnetic anisotropy in highly strained ultrathin Ni nanowires epitaxied in a SrTiO3 matrix

Abstract : We analyze the magnetic anisotropy of Ni nanowires with diameters smaller than 5 nm. The nanowires are vertically epitaxied in a SrTiO 3 (001) matrix which generates huge tensile strains up to 3.6% along the nanowire axis. This leads to an unusual anisotropy, characterized by an easy magnetization plane perpendicular to the nanowire axis. Hysteresis cycles M(H) unveil an overall in-plane isotropy, while an opening of the M(H) cycles and thermal activation measurements indicate the presence of local energy barriers inside the nanowires. Surprisingly, the coercive field H c (T) decays exponentially with increasing temperature, for both the easy plane and the hard axis. Based on these findings, we provide an analysis of magnetoelastic effects in the nanowires. By considering global averaging over the anisotropy distribution and local averaging according to the Random Magnetic Anisotropy model, we find that the global anisotropy, with its hard axis and isotropic easy plane, is related to the mean strain, while coercivity arises from local strain variations. We evidence that a thermally activated anisotropy softening occurs in the nanowires, in addition to Sharrock's law of thermal reduction of coercivity. Possible mechanisms responsible for this thermal softening of anisotropy are proposed and discussed. Our study eventually allows to identify two major competing effects at play in the present system: an increasing magnetic anisotropy with increasing strain and a reduction of the anisotropy with increasing local strain fluctuations.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 6:51:55 PM
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X. Weng, M. Hennes, D. Hrabovsky, D. Demaille, F. Vidal, et al.. Magnetoelastic effects and random magnetic anisotropy in highly strained ultrathin Ni nanowires epitaxied in a SrTiO3 matrix. Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, Elsevier, 2020, 501, pp.166375. ⟨10.1016/j.jmmm.2019.166375⟩. ⟨hal-02468474⟩

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