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Imaging of topological magnetic pinning in superconductor–ferrimagnet bilayer with scanning Hall microscopy

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In a superconducting film deposited on ferromagnetic substrate with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, vortex matter is confined by the magnetic potential landscape. Using scanning Hall microscopy we visualize flux accumulation and removal in a superconductor–ferrimagnet (S/F) bilayer prepared by rf sputtering of thin niobium film on bismuth-doped rare-earth iron garnet. Penetration of the perpendicular magnetic field in the S/F bilayer follows magnetic domain boundaries and is laterally guided by the garnet magnetization component along the field direction. Upon field removal, localization of the remnant flux at the disclination points of the labyrinthine domain pattern is observed. Our experiments show evidence for strong vortex pinning due the special topology of the domain pattern. Ac magnetic imaging of the transport current distribution in the bilayer reveals complex flow paths commensurate with the magnetic domain boundaries. Topological magnetic pinning can be a useful tool for enhancement and control of critical current in thin film superconductors.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2011


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