Domain wall induced modulation of low field H-T phase diagram in patterned superconductor-ferromagnet stripes
We present a systematic study of the magnetic domain wall induced modulation of superconducting transition temperature (Tc) in Nb/Ni bilayer stripes. By varying the thickness of the Ni layer from 20 nm to 100 nm we have been able to measure the low field Tc-H phase diagram spanning the Néel domain wall and Bloch domain wall range of thicknesses. Micromagnetic simulations confirmed a stronger out-of-plane stray field in the Bloch domain walls compared to the Néel walls. A suppression in Tc was observed in the magnetization reversal region of the Ni film, the magnitude of which followed linearly to the strength of the out-of-plane stray field due to the domain walls. The upper limit of the magnitude of domain wall stray field was roughly estimated by comparing the Tc of the suppressed region of H-Tc phase diagrams with the unaffected part of the H-Tc curve. With Bloch domain walls a change in Tc of more than 60 mK was observed which is much more compared to the earlier reports. We believe that the narrow stripe geometry of the bilayers and the transverse external field maximized the effect of the domain walls in the Ni layer on the overlying superconducting film, leading to a larger change in Tc. This observation may be useful for domain wall controlled switching devices in superconducting spintronics.