For Co/Si(111) films thinner than 15 ML, the thickness dependent reactivity and magnetic properties have been systematically studied. As the Co coverage increases, Co adatoms on the Si(111) surface show enhanced chemical reactivity for oxidation due to the change of the chemical state. After the saturation oxygen exposure, oxygen atoms interact with a thick Co layer to form a rougher interface. Complex adsorption kinetics of oxygen in the Co layer is observed. From the depth-profiling measurements for Co layers close to the Co-Si interface, the sputtering rate is enhanced due to that the solid surfaces of Si and Co-Si compounds are resistive against oxidation. The descending of the Kerr intensity by saturation oxygen exposure shows the limited diffusion length of oxygen atoms into the films. The inertness of the Co-Si interface, the reduction of pure cobalt and imperfection introduced by oxygen influence the coercivity of O/Co/Si(111).
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