Fluctuation induced first-order phase transitions in a dipolar Ising ferromagnetic slab

Rafael M. Fernandes, Harry Westfahl

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3 Scopus citations


We investigate the competition between the dipolar and the exchange interaction in a ferromagnetic slab with finite thickness and finite width. From an analytical approximate expression for the Ginzburg-Landau effective Hamiltonian, it is shown that, within a self-consistent Hartree approach, a stable modulated configuration arises. We study the transition between the disordered phase and two kinds of modulated configurations, namely, striped and bubble phases. Such transitions are of the first-order kind and the striped phase is shown to have lower energy and a higher spinodal limit than the bubble one. It is also observed that striped configurations corresponding to different modulation directions have different energies. The most stable are the ones in which the modulation vanishes along the unlimited direction, which is a prime effect of the slab's geometry together with the competition between the two distinct types of interaction. An application of this model to the domain structure of MnAs thin films grown over GaAs substrates is discussed and general qualitative properties are outlined and predicted, like the number of domains and the mean value of the modulation as functions of temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144421
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2006


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