© 2015 American Physical Society. Thermal activation tends to destroy the magnetic stability of small magnetic nanoparticles, with crucial implications for ultrahigh density recording among other applications. Here we demonstrate that low-blocking-temperature ferromagnetic (FM) Co nanoparticles (TB<70K) become magnetically stable above 400 K when embedded in a high-Néel-temperature antiferromagnetic (AFM) NiO matrix. The origin of this remarkable TB enhancement is due to a magnetic proximity effect between a thin CoO shell (with low Néel temperature, TN, and high anisotropy, KAFM) surrounding the Co nanoparticles and the NiO matrix (with high TN but low KAFM). This proximity effect yields an effective antiferromagnet with an apparent TN beyond that of bulk CoO, and an enhanced anisotropy compared to NiO. In turn, the Co core FM moment is stabilized against thermal fluctuations via core-shell exchange-bias coupling, leading to the observed TB increase. Mean-field calculations provide a semiquantitative understanding of this magnetic-proximity stabilization mechanism.
|Journal||Physical Review Letters|
|Publication status||Published - 28 Jul 2015|