Hidden Rotational Symmetries in Magnetic Domains
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Magnetic films have gained great attention for decades because of their broad industrial application. Their modern functionality more and more relies on their domain structure. Magnetic films usually form complex domain patterns with unique structures at different length scales due to the competition between short range attractive and long range repulsive interactions. The ensemble of domains is topologically disordered, although each of them possesses orientational spin order. Since simplifying complexity is the key step to understand and transform nature, finding new orders from the ostensible disordered structures would be a fascinating topic. Scattering techniques are well-known powerful tools to detect orders. Coherent soft xray magnetic resonant scattering becomes accessible with the development of synchrotron radiation facilities. We applied the technique to study the domain structure of CoPd/MnIr multilayer films with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy. By tuning incident photon energy to Co 2p&rarr3d transition edge we collected small angle magnetic scattering patterns by a charged coupled device in transmission geometry. Each pattern is an unique fingerprint of the corresponding illuminated domain structure. The patterns were analyzed by an angular correlation method. A variety of striking rotational orders were discovered. Their evolution with applied fields was investigated. The sustainabilities of the orders under the room temperature, exchange biased (EB) state, and non-EB state were compared, which suggests that certain orders can be well manipulated under the EB condition. By simulating magnetic resonant scattering from domain patterns obtained by a direct imaging method, we probed the range of emerging orders and finite size effect. Our study provides a novel approach to characterizing magnetic films and potentially can be extended to any system with a complex microstructure.