To investigate the topic in more detail, scientists from the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM-CSIC) and the Technical University of Madrid have used a homemade Pulsed Laser Deposition system to produce high-quality epitaxial Au(001)/Fe(001)/Mg(001) thin films with very sharp and flat Au/Fe and Fe/MgO interfaces.

The team has fabricated arrays of nanowires in these films, 100 nm to 1000 nm wide, through three different routes, Focused Ion Beam and Electron Beam lithography with either positive or negative resist. Here, the magnetization processes of the nanowires were essentially controlled by their shape and dimensions and by the intrinsic magnetic parameters of iron, with negligible influence of the imperfections inherent to the thin-film deposition and to the three lithography techniques.

The ability to achieve such high-quality nanostructures offers a unique opportunity to study them as model systems and to explain their magnetization reversal by means of a simple analytical approach, with very good agreement between the calculations and the experimental data.

More information can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.