We demonstrate a counterintuitive approach for improving exchange-spring magnets. Contrary to the general belief that the exchange-spring interface must be ideal and atomically coherent, we thermally process, by annealing or high-temperature deposition, epitaxial Sm-Co/Fe thin-film bilayers to induce interfacial mixing. Synchrotron x-ray scattering and electron microscopy elemental mapping confirm the formation of a graded interface. The thermal processing enhances the nucleation field and the energy product. The hysteresis loop becomes more single-phase-like yet the magnetization remains fully reversible. Model simulations produce demagnetization behaviors similar to experimental observations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)