Perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) was studied at low temperature (T=30 K) in dc-magnetron sputtered Ni60Cu40/Cu multilayers. PMA has been observed in many multilayer structures for ferromagnetic layer thicknesses less than a certain thickness t(perpendicular to). In general cases t(perpendicular to) is less than a few nanometers, making such structures unsuitable for low-cost fabrication techniques. Our results show a strong perpendicular easy direction of magnetization for NiCu layer thickness between 4.2 nm and 34 nm. The thickness t(perpendicular to) at which the multilayers change the preferential orientation from perpendicular to in-plane is estimated to be 55 nm. Structural studies show that the low magnetostatic energy density is likely to be the main reason for the large t(perpendicular to) value obtained in this system. (C) 2004 American Institute of Physics.
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