Structures and magnetic properties of Co and CoFe films on Si(100) have been investigated by employing scanning tunneling microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and magneto-optic Kerr effect techniques. As the film thickness increases, Co or CoFe clusters with different sizes are observed. As the film thickness increases below 20 nm, the size of the metal clusters decreases. For thicker films, the surface roughness increases monotonously by increasing the thickness. The easy axis of magnetization for both Co/Si(100) and CoFe/Si(100) prefers to be in the surface plane. By deposition of the Co or CoFe overlayers, the evolution of the longitudinal coercive force shows similar trend to the surface roughness. Minimum coercive force coincides with the smallest roughness of the film. For a film with greater roughness, the observation of larger coercive force could be explained by the impediment of the propagation of domain wall motion by defects of the films. At a higher deposition rate, Co islands in triangle shapes with an edge length around 100 nm are observed. This nanostructure shows an hcp-Co with the c axis parallel to the surface plane and is observed to be able to stabilize the coercive force for Co/Si(100) films.
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