A. Chaiken, R.P. Michel and M.A. Wall
Materials Science and Technology Division
Lawrence Livermore National Lab
Livermore, CA 94551
Published as Phys. Rev. B 53, 5518 (1996).
Ion-beam sputtering has been used to prepare Fe/Si multilayers on a variety of substrates and over a wide range of temperatures. Small-angle x-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy experiments show that the layers are heavily intermixed although a composition gradient is maintained. When the spacer layer is an amorphous iron silicide, the magnetic properties of the multilayers are similar to those of bulk Fe. When the spacer layer is a crystalline silicide with the B2 or DO3 structure, the multilayers show antiferromagnetic interlayer coupling like that observed in ferromagnet/paramagnet multilayers such as Fe/Cr and Co/Cu. Depending on the substrate type and the growth temperature, the multilayers grow in either the (011) or (001) texture. The occurrence of the antiferromagnetic interlayer coupling is dependent on the crystallinity of the iron and iron silicide layers, but does not seem to be strongly affected by the perfection of the layering or the orientation of the film. Since the B2- and DO3-structure Fe xSi 1-x compounds are known to be metallic, antiferromagnetic interlayer coupling in Fe/Si multilayers probably originates from the same quantum-well and Fermi surface effects as in Fe/Cr and Co/Cu multilayers.