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We present the results of a systematic study of the magnetic properties of micrometer size arrays of Co(1 0 0) epitaxial ring magnets grown on prepatterned Si substrates. The Co thickness varied between 5 and 34 nm and the outer diameter of the rings varied between 0.9 and 1.6 μm. Magnetic measurements and micromagnetic simulations show that for appropriate ring structures a two-step switching process occurs, indicating the existence of two different stable states. In addition to the vortex state, we have identified a new bi-domain state, the 'onion state', corresponding to opposite circulation of the magnetisation in each half of the ring. The onion state is stable at remanence and undergoes a simple and well-characterised nucleation-free switching. Using micromagnetic simulations we show also that the magnetisation reversal in narrow rings can take place via a nucleation-free domain wall motion process when a field pulse is applied in the plane of the film and perpendicular to the net magnetisation. Switching times of the order of 400 ps are predicted with this approach. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





208 - 213