The switching field distribution within arrays of single-domain ferromagnetic islands incorporates both island-island interactions and quenched disorder in island geometry. Separating these two contributions is important for disentangling the effects of disorder and interactions in the magnetization dynamics of island arrays. Using submicron, spatially resolved Kerr imaging in an external magnetic field for islands with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, we map out the evolution of island arrays during hysteresis loops. Resolving and tracking individual islands across four different lattice types and a range of interisland spacings, we can extract the individual switching fields of every island and thereby quantitatively determine the contributions of interactions and quenched disorder in the arrays. The width of the switching field distribution is found to be well fitted by a simple model comprising the sum of an array-independent contribution (interpreted as disorder induced) and a term proportional to the maximum field the entire rest of the array could exert on a single island, i.e., in a fully polarized state. This supports the claim that disorder in these arrays is primarily a single-island property and provides a methodology by which to quantify such disorder.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics