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Controllable positive exchange bias via redox-driven oxygen migration

Journal article
Authors D. A. Gilbert
J. Olamit
Randy K. Dumas
B. J. Kirby
A. J. Grutter
B. B. Maranville
E. Arenholz
J. A. Borchers
K. Liu
Published in Nature Communications
Volume 7
ISSN 2041-1723
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Language en
Subject categories Physical Sciences


Ionic transport in metal/oxide heterostructures offers a highly effective means to tailor material properties via modification of the interfacial characteristics. However, direct observation of ionic motion under buried interfaces and demonstration of its correlation with physical properties has been challenging. Using the strong oxygen affinity of gadolinium, we design a model system of GdxFe1-x/NiCoO bilayer films, where the oxygen migration is observed and manifested in a controlled positive exchange bias over a relatively small cooling field range. The exchange bias characteristics are shown to be the result of an interfacial layer of elemental nickel and cobalt, a few nanometres in thickness, whose moments are larger than expected from uncompensated NiCoO moments. This interface layer is attributed to a redox-driven oxygen migration from NiCoO to the gadolinium, during growth or soon after. These results demonstrate an effective path to tailoring the interfacial characteristics and interlayer exchange coupling in metal/oxide heterostructures.

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