Stabilisation of fcc cobalt layers by 0.4 nm thick manganese layers in Co/Mn superlattices
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Epitaxial Co/Mn multilayers (0.75 to 6 nm Co, 0.4 nm Mn layer thickness) have been grown on mica substrates covered by a (0002) Ru buffer layer. The structural properties of these layers have been studied using X-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). The Co layers, grown as face centred cubic (fcc), were found to be stabilised by the very thin Mn layers. Data obtained using X-ray diffraction and NMR were analysed and found to be in good agreement, while Monte-Carlo simulations were used to interpret the data and calculate the expected diffracted intensity and NMR spectra. The HRTEM data show that the Mn layers give rise to a large strain contrast extending, in the growth direction, over a distance which exceeds the thickness of the Mn layers. The superlattices could be described as having an fcc structure containing randomly located stacking faults with varying densities. The results verify the presence of a dominant, almost perfect phase of fcc stacking, and of a faulted hcp phase, while the number of defects increases with the Co layer thickness.
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