X‐ray diffraction was used to investigate the effect of nitrogen additions on the crystal structure and preferred orientation of FeMn films reactively sputtered in an Ar‐N2 ambient. The fcc γ‐FeMn phase was stabilized over a range of nitrogen pressures. The fcc FeMn(N) film was then used as a nucleation substrate for the deposition of an FeMn/Permalloy exchange coupled structure. A maximum exchange bias of 60–70 Oe was obtained when the FeMn(N) film was lattice matched to the γ‐FeMn structure (a0=3.63 Å).

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