The interfacial atomic structure of epitaxial ultrathin Co2FeAl/MgO(001) heterostructures, which is related to the interface-induced perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA), was investigated using scanning transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and X-ray magnetic circular dichroism. Al atoms from the Co2FeAl layer significantly interdiffused into MgO, forming an Al-deficient Co-Fe-Al/Mg-Al-O structure near the Co2FeAl/MgO interface. This atomic replacement may have enhanced the PMA, which is consistent with the observed large perpendicular orbital magnetic moments of Fe atoms at the interface. This work suggests that control of interdiffusion at ferromagnet/barrier interfaces is critical for designing an interface-induced PMA system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)