Effects of the Cu underlayer thickness and the addition of Cu to a Sm-Co layer on magnetic properties and microstructure of SmCo5 thin films exhibiting perpendicular magnetic anisotropy were studied. The origin of the perpendicular magnetic anisotropy was discussed from these experimental results. A thick Cu underlayer of more than 100 nm brought about high perpendicular magnetic anisotropy leading to the squareness ratio equal to unity. The Cu addition enhanced the perpendicular magnetic anisotropy and reduced the Cu underlayer thickness required to obtain the squareness ratio of unity. X-ray diffractometry showed that the crystalline orientation of the Sm-Co layer did not correlate with that of the Cu underlayer. Auger electron spectroscopy revealed that Cu atoms were diffused up to the Sm-Co layer from the Cu underlayer. From the results, Cu atoms existing in the Sm-Co layer were suggested to be strongly related with an appearance of the perpendicular magnetic anisotropy by introducing the Cu underlayer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas