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We present a study of the influence of substrate roughness on the magnetic properties of thin fcc Co films (7 and 17 nm thick) grown on Cu (001) Si (001). A significant decrease in cubic anisotropy with increasing film roughness was observed with Brillouin light scattering. In addition, the rougher samples exhibited a substantial broadening of the spin wave peaks. Both effects were found to be more pronounced for the thinner Co layers. We propose a magnetic configuration with the magnetization following coherently the substrate morphology ("undulating" state) resulting in the absence of magnetic surface charges. This configuration gives rise to a reduction in the magnetic anisotropy of epitaxial thin films, in good qualitative agreement with the experimental observations. © 2007 American Institute of Physics.

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