Atomic-scale engineering of magnetic anisotropy of nanostructures through interfaces and interlines
The central goals of nanoscale magnetic materials science are the self-assembly of the smallest structure exhibiting ferromagnetic hysteresis at room temperature, and the assembly of these structures into the highest density patterns. The focus has been on chemically ordered alloys combining magnetic 3d elements with polarizable 5d elements having high spin-orbit coupling and thus yielding the desired large magneto-crystalline anisotropy. The chemical synthesis of nanoparticles of these alloys yields disordered phases requiring annealing to transform them to the high-anisotropy L10 structure. Despite considerable efforts, so far only part of the nanoparticles can be transformed without coalescence. Here we present an alternative approach to homogeneous alloys, namely the creation of nanostructures with atomically sharp bimetallic interfaces and interlines. They exhibit unexpectedly high magnetization reversal energy with values and directions of the easy magnetization axes strongly depending on chemistry and texture. We find significant deviations from the expected behaviour for commonly used element combinations. Ab-initio calculations reproduce these results and unravel their origin.