We have investigated the effect of substrate inclination on the in-plane magnetic anisotropy of ultrathin Fe films grown on Al2 O3 (0001). For Fe films grown on flat Al2 O3 substrates, no preferred direction of magnetization exists in the film plane due to the three equivalent epitaxial orientations of Fe(110) that form. However, for Fe grown on an inclined Al2 O3 substrate, a uniaxial anisotropy appears that is parallel to the step edges. The anisotropy increases in magnitude with decreasing Fe thickness and growth temperature, and as the surface morphology changes from being rough to being smooth. We attribute the uniaxial anisotropy to the effective demagnetization field caused by the surface corrugation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)