Suppression of low-temperature ferromagnetic phase in ultrathin FeRh films
Highly ordered B2 FeRh films with sharp magnetic transitions from the antiferromagnetic (AF) toferromagnetic (FM) states were prepared on thermally oxidized Si wafers with thicknesses as low as 10 nm. It is found that the transition temperature increases as the thickness decreases from 80 nm to 15 nm, and then decreases from 15 nm to 10 nm. While the ratio of the residualmagnetization to the maximum magnetization keeps nearly unchanged for the film thickness of 15 nm and larger, it increases significantly when the thickness is reduced to 10 nm. This residualmagnetization was suppressed by slightly increasing the Rh atomic content in 10 nm thick FeRhfilms. Low-pressure deposition is found to play an important role in the stabilization of the AF phase. By depositing FeRh films at an extremely low pressure of 0.057 Pa, a residualmagnetization as small as 13.5 emu/cc at 100 K was observed for a film with a nominal thickness of 10 nm deposited on Si wafer. This value was further reduced to 6 emu/cc when the film isdeposited on MgO substrates due to much improved FeRh crystallinity. These results are in close agreement with theoretical predictions on defect and interface induced FM stabilization.