Local manipulation of metamagnetism by strain nanopatterning†
Among metamagnetic materials, FeRh alloys are technologically appealing due to their uncommon antiferromagnetic-to-ferromagnetic metamagnetic transition which occurs at a temperature T* just above room temperature. Here, a controlled increase of T* (ΔT* ∼ 20 °C) is induced in pre-selected regions of FeRh films via mechanical strain nanopatterning. Compressive stresses generated at the vicinity of pre-defined nanoindentation imprints cause a local reduction of the FeRh crystallographic unit cell parameter, which leads to an increase of T* in these confined micro-/nanometric areas. This enhances the stability of the antiferromagnetic phase in these localized regions. Remarkably, generation of periodic arrays of nanopatterned features also allows modifying the overall magnetic and electric transport properties across large areas of the FeRh films. This approach is highly appealing for the design of new memory architectures or other AFM-spintronic devices.