Magneto-crystalline anisotropy of metallic nanostructures : tight-binding and first-principles studies

Abstract : The crucial issue in exploring ultimate density data storage is magneto-crystalline anisotropy (MCA) which originates from spin-orbit coupling. Using both tight-binding and first-principles methods, we report the MCA of Fe and Co nanocrystals that can be grown epitaxially on SrTiO3 with a remarkable control of their size, shape and structure. In order to define the proper local decomposition of MCA, we implemented the “Force Theorem” within the grand-canonical formulation in QUANTUM ESPRESSO as well as in our tight-binding model. Interestingly, for both elements, the total MCA of free nanocrystals is largely dominated by (001) facets resulting in the opposite behavior: out-of-plane and in-plane magnetization direction is favored in Fe and Co nanocrystals (containing up to several hundred atoms), respectively. We also find a strong enhancement of MCA for small clusters (containing only several atoms) upon their deposition on a SrTiO3 substrate. As a consequence, we predict that the Fe nanocrystals (even rather small) should be magnetically stable and are thus good potential candidates for magnetic storage devices. Finally, our rather general orbital-resolved analysis of MCA applies also to other systems and allows, for example, predicting the MCA behavior of magnetic thin films upon covering by various organic materials such as graphene or C60 molecule.
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Dongzhe Li. Magneto-crystalline anisotropy of metallic nanostructures : tight-binding and first-principles studies. Physics [physics]. Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015PA066232⟩. ⟨tel-01243074v2⟩

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