Metallic Multilayers: Discovery of Interlayer Exchange Coupling and GMR

  • Peter GrünbergEmail author
  • Daniel E. BürglerEmail author


The role of magnetic multilayer structures for the emergence of spintronics is discussed. Initial studies of magnetic interactions mainly by Brillouin light scattering lead to the discovery of antiferromagnetic interlayer exchange coupling. The novel possibility to control the relative alignment of spins separated by only a few nanometers with an external magnetic field triggered the first observations of the giant magnetoresistance effect, which then became the cornerstone of spintronics. Both oscillatory interlayer exchange coupling and giant magnetoresistance are introduced, and a picture for their microscopic origin is presented.


Spin Valve Giant Magnetoresistance Interlayer Thickness Quantum Well State Interlayer Exchange Coupling 
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List of Abbreviations


Anisotropic magnetoresistance


Magnetic field


Brillouin light scattering


Current in plane


Current-perpendicular plane


Thickness of spacer layers

d1, d2

Thickness of ferromagnetic layers




Density of states


Fermi energy


IEC energy density


Discrete energy levels




Giant magnetoresistance


Exchange bias field


Interlayer exchange coupling


Bilinear IEC parameter


Biquadratic IEC parameter


Perpendicular momentum component




Magneto-optical Kerr effect


Spin up (down) DOS at Fermi level




Wave vector


Critical spanning vector


Quantum well states




Resistance of majority (minority) channel


Resistance for parallel (antiparallel) alignment


Scanning electron microscopy with spin analysis


Scattering spin asymmetry parameter


Angle between magnetizations


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peter Grünberg Institute, Electronic Properties (PGI-6)Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbHJülichGermany

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