We study the parametric excitation of high orders of magnetization precession in ultrathin films having perpendicular magnetic anisotropy. We observe that for a given driving field amplitude the harmonic generation can be increased by lowering the barrier with the application of an in-plane magnetic field in the manner of the Smit-Beljers effect. In this effect, the magnetic stiffness is reduced not by lowering the magnitude of the magnetic field upon which the spins precess, but rather by effectively releasing the field's "anchoring" point. This results in a shallow energy barrier where the electrons' spin is locally unconstrained. While the observation is unveiled in the form of nonlinear high harmonic generation, we believe that the physics whereby the barrier is suppressed by an external magnetic field may apply to other phenomena associated with ultrathin films. In these cases, such unconstrained motion may serve as a sensitive probe of the torques associated with proximate spin currents. Moreover, our approach may be used as a model system for the study of phase transitions in the field of nonlinear dynamics.
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© 2016 American Physical Society.