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Continuous spin-reorientation phase transition in the surface region of an inhomogeneous magnetic film

By: A. Anisimov; A. Popov;

2005 / Springer Science+Business Media / 1063-7761


A continuous spin-reorientation transition from a uniform magnetic state with the in-plane orientation of the moments of all atomic layers to a nonuniform canted state in the surface region is considered. This transition was discovered in experiments on the divergence of magnetic susceptibility in a perpendicular magnetic field at a temperature of about 240 K, which is lower than the Curie point of gadolinium, equal to 292.5 K. These experiments were carried out on an ultrathin iron magnetic film deposited on the (0001) surface of a thin gadolinium film. It is shown that, in the vicinity of the spin-reorientation transition, the thermodynamic potential has a form characteristic of the Landau theory of second-order phase transitions. The orientation angle of the moment of the surface atomic layer with respect to the plane of the film, which is chosen as an order parameter, exhibits anomalous behavior and increases with temperature. Expressions are derived for the magnetic susceptibility of each atomic layer. It is shown that, in the vicinity of the transition, the irregular part of the magnetic susceptibility of each atomic layer exhibits behavior characteristic of the susceptibility in the Landau theory: it is less by a factor of two in the low-symmetry phase and diverges at the transition point. The regular part of the magnetic susceptibility of each atomic layer makes an additional contribution to the asymmetry of the total susceptibility in the vicinity of the transition point; this result follows from the fact that the inhomogeneous magnetic system considered is semi-infinite.

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