Spatially Resolved Magnetic Anisotropy of Cobalt Nanostructures on the Au(111) Surface

Puneet Mishra, Zhi Kun Qi, Hirofumi Oka, Kohji Nakamura, Tadahiro Komeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the origin of perpendicular magnetic anisotropy in surface-supported nanoclusters is crucial for fundamental research as well as data storage applications. Here, we investigate the perpendicular magnetic anisotropy energy (MAE) of bilayer cobalt islands on Au(111) substrate using spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy at 4.6 K and first-principles theoretical calculations. Au(111) substrate serves as an excellent model system to study the effect of nucleation site and stacking sequence on MAE. Our measurements reveal that the MAE of bilayer islands depends strongly on the crystallographic stacking of the two Co layers and nucleation of the third layer. Moreover, the MAE of Co atoms on Au(111) is enhanced by a factor of 1.75 as compared to that reported on Cu(111). Our first-principles calculations attribute this enhancement to the large spin-orbit coupling of the Au atoms. Our results highlight the strong impact of nanometer-scale structural changes in Co islands on MAE and emphasize the importance of spatially resolved measurements for the magnetic characterization of surface-supported nanostructures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5843-5847
Number of pages5
JournalNano Letters
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept 13


  • Magnetic anisotropy
  • first-principles calculations
  • magnetization switching
  • nanoclusters
  • scanning tunneling microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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