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Evidence of a strong perpendicular magnetic anisotropy in Au/Co/MgO/GaN heterostructures

Abstract

We report a strong perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) in Au/Co/MgO/GaN heterostructures from both experiments and first-principles calculations. The Au/Co/MgO heterostructures have been grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) on GaN/sapphire substrates. By carefully optimizing the growth conditions, we obtained a fully epitaxial structure with crystalline orientation relationship Au(111)[-110]// Co(0001)[11-20]// MgO(111)[10-1] //GaN(0002)[11-20]. More interesting, we demonstrate that a 4.6 nm thick Co film grown on MgO/GaN still exhibits a large perpendicular magnetic anisotropy. First-principles calculations performed on the Co (4ML)/MgO(111) structure showed that the MgO(111) surface can strongly enhance the magnetic anisotropy energy by 40% compared to a reference 4ML thick Co hcp film. Our layer-resolved and orbital-hybridization resolved anisotropy analyses helped to clarify that the origin of the PMA enhancement is due to the interfacial hybridization of O 2p and Co 3d orbitals at the Co/MgO interface. The perpendicularly magnetized Au/Co/MgO/GaN heterostructures are promising for efficient spin injection and detection in GaN based opto-electronics without any external magnetic field.

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 May 2019, accepted on 29 Sep 2019 and first published on 30 Sep 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9NA00340A
Nanoscale Adv., 2019, Accepted Manuscript
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Evidence of a strong perpendicular magnetic anisotropy in Au/Co/MgO/GaN heterostructures

    X. Gao, B. Yang, X. Devaux, H. Yang, J. Liu, S. Liang, M. Stoffel, L. Pasquier, B. Hyot, A. Grenier, N. Bernier, S. Migot, S. Mangin, H. Rinnert, C. Jiang, Z. Zeng, N. Tang, Q. Sun, S. Ding, H. Yang and Y. Lu, Nanoscale Adv., 2019, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C9NA00340A

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