Magnetic exchange coupling effects in asymmetric trilayer structures of MBE grown Co/Cr/Fe
- We present results of anisotropy and exchange-coupling studies of asymmetric Co/Cr/Fe trilayers and superlattices grown by molecular beam epitaxy on Cr~001!/Mg~001! buffers and substrates. The magnetic properties have been investigated using both the longitudinal magneto-optical Kerr effect and ferromagnetic resonance. The hysteresis data obtained from the trilayer system were fit to a theoretical model which contains both bilinear and biquadratic coupling. The effective in-plane anisotropy was found to be of fourfold symmetry with the same easy-axis orientation for both the Fe and Co layers. An analysis of the easy-axis hysteresis loops indicates long-period oscillatory coupling and also suggests a short periodic coupling. We show that weakly antiferromagnetically coupled asymmetric films might serve as potential candidates for improved spin-valve systems.