The structures and magnetic properties of Co(tCo)/Mn(20Å) (tCo=5-50Å) multilayers were systematically investigated by X-ray diffractometry and SQUID magnetometry to clarify the mechanism of the generation of coercive force from interfacial exchange coupling. The structures and magnetic properties changed extensively with increase in Co layer thickness. The strength of interfacial exchange coupling, the easy direction and strength of exchange interaction of Mn layers, and the affected regions in each Co layer were qualitatively clarified by systematic investigation of the magnetic properties at low temperature. By decomposing the perpendicular hysteresis loop into reversible and irreversible components, the magnetization process was characterized. Some mechanisms underlying generation of coercive force such as decoupling, spin flopping, two step, screening, and domain wall mechanisms were elucidated. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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