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The Transition State in Magnetization Reversal

By G. Brown, M. A. Novotny and P. A. Rikvold


We consider a magnet with uniaxial anisotropy in an external magnetic field along the anisotropy direction, but with a field magnitude smaller than the coercive field. There are three representative magnetization configurations corresponding to three extrema of the free energy. The equilibrium and metastable configurations, which are magnetized approximately parallel and antiparallel to the applied field, respectively, both correspond to local free-energy minima. The third extremum configuration is the saddle point separating these minima. It is also called the transition state for magnetization reversal. The free-energy difference between the metastable and transition-state configurations determines the thermal stability of the magnet. However, it is difficult to determine the location of the transition state in both experiments and numerical simulations. Here it is shown that the computational Projective Dynamics method, applied to the time dependence of the total magnetization, can be used to determine the transition state. From large-scale micromagnetic simulations of a simple model of magnetic nanowires with no crystalline anisotropy, the magnetization associated with the transition state is found to be linearly dependent on temperature, and the free-energy barrier is found to be dominated by the entropic contribution at reasonable temperatures and external fields. The effect of including crystalline anisotropy is also discussed. Finally, the influence of the spin precession on the transition state is determined by comparison of the micromagnetic simulations to kinetic Monte Carlo simulations of precession-free (overdamped) dynamics.Comment: RevTex 4 pages, 2 figure

Topics: Condensed Matter - Statistical Mechanics, Condensed Matter - Materials Science
Publisher: 'AIP Publishing'
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1063/1.1543882
OAI identifier:

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