The ability to tune the competition between the in-plane and out-of-plane orientation of magnetization provides a means to construct thermal sensors with a sharp spin reorientation transition at specific temperatures. We have observed such a tuneable, temperature-driven spin reorientation in structurally amorphous, ferrimagnetic rare-earth transition-metal alloy thin films using scanning transmission x-ray microscopy and magnetic measurements. The nature of the spin reorientation transition in FeGd can be fully explained by a nonequilibrium, nanoscale modulation of the chemical composition of the films. This modulation leads to a magnetic domain pattern of nanoscale speckles superimposed on a background of in-plane domains that form Landau configurations in μm-scale patterned elements. It is this speckle magnetic structure that gives rise to a sharp two-step reversal mechanism that is temperature dependent. The possibility to balance competing anisotropies through the temperature opens opportunities to create and manipulate topological spin textures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)