Intrinsic origin of interfacial second-order magnetic anisotropy in ferromagnet/normal metal heterostructures

Hyung Keun Gweon, Hyeon Jong Park, Kyoung Whan Kim, Kyung Jin Lee, Sang Ho Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Interfacial perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, which is characterized by first-order (K1) and second-order (K2) anisotropy, is the core phenomenon for nonvolatile magnetic devices. A sizable K2 satisfying a specific condition stabilizes the easy-cone state, where equilibrium magnetization forms at an angle from the film normal. The easy-cone state offers intriguing possibilities for advanced spintronic devices and unique spin textures, such as spin superfluids and easy-cone domain walls. Experimental realization of the easy-cone state requires understanding the origin of K2, thereby enhancing K2. However, the previously proposed origins of K2 cannot fully account for the experimental results. Here, we experimentally show that K2 scales almost linearly with the work function difference between the Co and X layers in Pt/Co/X heterostructures (X = Pd, Cu, Pt, Mo, Ru, W, and Ta), suggesting the central role of the inversion asymmetry in K2. Our result provides a guideline for enhancing K2 and realizing magnetic applications based on the easy-cone state.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
JournalNPG Asia Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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