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It is well known that the magnetic anisotropy in a compressively strained Mn-doped GaAs film changes from perpendicular to parallel with increasing hole concentration p. We study this reorientation transition at T=0 in a quantum well with delta-doped Mn impurities. With increasing p, the angle θ that minimizes the energy E increases continuously from 0 (perpendicular anisotropy) to π/2 (parallel anisotropy) within some range of p. The shape of E min (p) suggests that the quantum well becomes phase separated with regions containing low hole concentrations and perpendicular moments interspersed with other regions containing high hole concentrations and parallel moments. However, because of the Coulomb energy cost associated with phase separation, the true magnetic state in the transition region is canted with 0<θ<π/2. © 2007 The American Physical Society.

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Physical Review Letters