Statistical mechanics of nonuniform magnetization reversal
Physical Review B (Condensed Matter)
The magnetization reversal rate via thermal creation of soliton pairs in quasi-1D ferromagnetic systems is calculated. Such a model describes e.g. the time dependent coercivity of elongated particles as used in magnetic recording media. The energy barrier that has to be overcome by thermal fluctuations corresponds to a soliton-antisoliton pair whose size depends on the external field. In contrast to other models of first order phase transitions such as the phi^4 model, an analytical expression
... or this energy barrier is found for all values of the external field. The magnetization reversal rate is calculated using a functional Fokker-Planck description of the stochastic magnetization dynamics. Analytical results are obtained in the limits of small fields and fields close to the anisotropy field. In the former case the hard-axis anisotropy becomes effectively strong and the magnetization reversal rate is shown to reduce to the nucleation rate of soliton-antisoliton pairs in the overdamped double sine-Gordon model. The present theory therefore includes the nucleation rate of soliton-antisoliton pairs in the double sine-Gordon chain as a special case. These results demonstrate that for elongated particles, the experimentally observed coercivity is significantly lower than the value predicted by the standard theories of N\'eel and Brown.