Magnetic order and disorder in nanomagnets probed by superconducting vortices

V. Rollano, J. del Valle, A. Gomez, M. Velez, L. M. Alvarez-Prado, C. Quiros, J. I. Martin, M. R. Osorio, D. Granados, E. M. Gonzalez & J. L. Vicent. 2018. Magnetic order and disorder in nanomagnets probed by superconducting vortices. Scientific Reports 8, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-30837-4

We have studied two nanomagnet systems with strong (Co/Pd multilayers) and weak (NdCo alloy films) stray magnetic fields by probing the out-of-plane magnetic states with superconducting vortices. The hybrid samples are made of array of nanomagnets embedded in superconducting Nb thin films. The vortex motion detects relevant magnetic state features, since superconducting vortices are able to discriminate between different magnetic stray field strengths and directions. The usual matching effect between the superconducting vortex lattice and the periodic pinning array can be quenched by means of disorder magnetic potentials with strong stray fields at random. Ordered stray fields retrieve the matching effect and yield asymmetry and shift in the vortex dissipation signal. Furthermore vortices can discriminate the sizes of the nanomagnet magnetic domains, detecting magnetic domain sizes as small as 70 nm. In addition, we observe that the vortex cores play the crucial role instead of the supercurrents around the vortex.

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