The contribution of each interface of the MgO/Co/Pd trilayer to the perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) was studied by changing chemical and crystalline structures through annealing. We found that volumetric anisotropy in the MgO/Co/Pd trilayer was significantly increased due to enhanced magnetoelastic anisotropy caused by stress built up most likely at the MgO/Co interface during annealing. When the trilayer was annealed at 400 °C, the alloy formation at the Co/Pd interface additionally increased the volumetric anisotropy. Our x-ray magnetic circular dichroism study supported that those structural modifications led to an increase in the orbital moment through spin-orbit coupling (SOC) along the film normal two times larger than that of the as-deposited trilayer, thereby enhancing PMA greatly. Our experimental results prove that the Co/Pd interface, rather than the MgO/Co interface, plays an essential role in inducing strong PMA in the trilayer. The precise investigation of annealing effect on both volumetric and interfacial anisotropies can provide a methodological solution to improve the SOC of the trilayer that can serve as the core unit of spintronic devices.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)