The effect of underlayers on the reversal of perpendicularly magnetized multilayer thin films for magnetic micro- and nanoparticles

08 Nov 2017

Perpendicularly magnetized microparticles offer the ability to locally apply high torques on soft matter under an applied magnetic field. These particles are engineered to have a zero remanence magnetic configuration via synthetic antiferromagnetic coupling using a Ru coupling interlayer. The flexibility offered by the top down thin film fabrication process in a CoFeB/Pt perpendicular thin film is demonstrated by using the Pt interlayer thicknesses in a Pt/Ru/Pt antiferromagnetic coupling multilayer to tune the applied magnetic field value of the easy axis spin-flip transition to saturation and hence the field value at which the magnetic particles are magnetically activated via a distinct transition to saturation. The importance of a Ta buffer layer on the magnetic behavior of the stack is shown. While Au capping layers are desirable for biotechnology applications, we demonstrate that they can drastically change the nucleation and propagation of domains in the film, thereby altering the reversal behavior of the thin film. The effect of Au underlayers on a multilayer thin film composed of repeated motifs of a synthetic antiferromagnetic building block is also investigated.