Discovery and characterization of a new type of domain wall in a row-wise antiferromagnet.
ABSTRACT: Antiferromagnets have recently moved into the focus of application-related research, with the perspective to use them in future spintronics devices. At the same time the experimental determination of the detailed spin texture remains challenging. Here we use spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy to investigate the spin structure of antiferromagnetic domain walls. Comparison with spin dynamics simulations allows the identification of a new type of domain wall, which is a superposition state of the adjacent domains. We determine the relevant magnetic interactions and derive analytical formulas. Our experiments show a pathway to control the number of domain walls by boundary effects, and demonstrate the possibility to change the position of domain walls by interaction with movable adsorbed atoms. The knowledge about the exact spin structure of the domain walls is crucial for an understanding and theoretical modelling of their properties regarding, for instance, dynamics, response in transport experiments, and manipulation.
Project description:Magnonics is a research field complementary to spintronics, in which quanta of spin waves (magnons) replace electrons as information carriers, promising lower dissipation<sup>1-3</sup>. The development of ultrafast nanoscale magnonic logic circuits calls for new tools and materials to generate coherent spin waves with frequencies as high, and wavelengths as short, as possible<sup>4,5</sup>. Antiferromagnets can host spin waves at terahertz (THz) frequencies and are therefore seen as a future platform for the fastest and the least dissipative transfer of information<sup>6-11</sup>. However, the generation of short-wavelength coherent propagating magnons in antiferromagnets has so far remained elusive. Here we report the efficient emission and detection of a nanometer-scale wavepacket of coherent propagating magnons in antiferromagnetic DyFeO<sub>3</sub> using ultrashort pulses of light. The subwavelength confinement of the laser field due to large absorption creates a strongly non-uniform spin excitation profile, enabling the propagation of a broadband continuum of coherent THz spin waves. The wavepacket contains magnons with a shortest detected wavelength of 125 nm that propagate with supersonic velocities of more than 13 km/s into the material. This source of coherent short-wavelength spin carriers opens up new prospects for THz antiferromagnetic magnonics and coherence-mediated logic devices at THz frequencies.
Project description:Antiferromagnetic materials are promising platforms for next-generation spintronics owing to their fast dynamics and high robustness against parasitic magnetic fields. However, nanoscale imaging of the magnetic order in such materials with zero net magnetization remains a major experimental challenge. Here we show that non-collinear antiferromagnetic spin textures can be imaged by probing the magnetic noise they locally produce via thermal populations of magnons. To this end, we perform nanoscale, all-optical relaxometry with a scanning quantum sensor based on a single nitrogen-vacancy (NV) defect in diamond. Magnetic noise is detected through an increase of the spin relaxation rate of the NV defect, which results in an overall reduction of its photoluminescence signal under continuous laser illumination. As a proof-of-concept, the efficiency of the method is demonstrated by imaging various spin textures in synthetic antiferromagnets, including domain walls, spin spirals and antiferromagnetic skyrmions. This imaging procedure could be extended to a large class of intrinsic antiferromagnets and opens up new opportunities for studying the physics of localized spin wave modes for magnonics.
Project description:Antiferromagnets are enriching spintronics research by many favorable properties that include insensitivity to magnetic fields, neuromorphic memory characteristics, and ultra-fast spin dynamics. Designing memory devices with electrical writing and reading is one of the central topics of antiferromagnetic spintronics. So far, such a combined functionality has been demonstrated via 90° reorientations of the Néel vector generated by the current-induced spin orbit torque and sensed by the linear-response anisotropic magnetoresistance. Here we show that in the same antiferromagnetic CuMnAs films as used in these earlier experiments we can also control 180° Néel vector reversals by switching the polarity of the writing current. Moreover, the two stable states with opposite Néel vector orientations in this collinear antiferromagnet can be electrically distinguished by measuring a second-order magnetoresistance effect. We discuss the general magnetic point group symmetries allowing for this electrical readout effect and its specific microscopic origin in CuMnAs.
Project description:We theoretically investigate the dynamics of antiferromagnetic domain walls driven by spin-orbit torques in antiferromagnet-heavy-metal bilayers. We show that spin-orbit torques drive antiferromagnetic domain walls much faster than ferromagnetic domain walls. As the domain wall velocity approaches the maximum spin-wave group velocity, the domain wall undergoes Lorentz contraction and emits spin waves in the terahertz frequency range. The interplay between spin-orbit torques and the relativistic dynamics of antiferromagnetic domain walls leads to the efficient manipulation of antiferromagnetic spin textures and paves the way for the generation of high frequency signals from antiferromagnets.
Project description:Antiferromagnetic spin motion at terahertz (THz) frequencies attracts growing interests for fast spintronics, however, their smaller responses to external field inhibit device application. Recently the noncollinear antiferromagnet Mn<sub>3</sub>Sn, a Weyl semimetal candidate, was reported to show large anomalous Hall effect (AHE) at room temperature comparable to ferromagnets. Dynamical aspect of such large responses is an important issue to be clarified for future THz data processing. Here the THz anomalous Hall conductivity in Mn<sub>3</sub>Sn thin films is investigated by polarization-resolved spectroscopy. Large anomalous Hall conductivity [Formula: see text] at THz frequencies is clearly observed as polarization rotation. A peculiar temperature dependence corresponding to the breaking/recovery of symmetry in the spin texture is also discussed. Observation of the THz AHE at room temperature demonstrates the ultrafast readout for the antiferromagnetic spintronics using Mn<sub>3</sub>Sn, and will also open new avenue for studying nonequilibrium dynamics in Weyl antiferromagnets.
Project description:Non-collinear antiferromagnets are revealing many unexpected phenomena and they became crucial for the field of antiferromagnetic spintronics. To visualize and prepare a well-defined domain structure is of key importance. The spatial magnetic contrast, however, remains extraordinarily difficult to be observed experimentally. Here, we demonstrate a magnetic imaging technique based on a laser induced local thermal gradient combined with detection of the anomalous Nernst effect. We employ this method in one the most actively studied representatives of this class of materials-Mn<sub>3</sub>Sn. We demonstrate that the observed contrast is of magnetic origin. We further show an algorithm to prepare a well-defined domain pattern at room temperature based on heat assisted recording principle. Our study opens up a prospect to study spintronics phenomena in non-collinear antiferromagnets with spatial resolution.
Project description:The electrical control of antiferromagnetic moments is a key technological goal of antiferromagnet-based spintronics, which promises favourable device characteristics such as ultrafast operation and high-density integration as compared to conventional ferromagnet-based devices. To date, the manipulation of antiferromagnetic moments by electric current has been demonstrated in epitaxial antiferromagnets with broken inversion symmetry or antiferromagnets interfaced with a heavy metal, in which spin-orbit torque (SOT) drives the antiferromagnetic domain wall. Here, we report current-induced manipulation of the exchange bias in IrMn/NiFe bilayers without a heavy metal. We show that the direction of the exchange bias is gradually modulated up to ±22 degrees by an in-plane current, which is independent of the NiFe thickness. This suggests that spin currents arising in the IrMn layer exert SOTs on uncompensated antiferromagnetic moments at the interface which then rotate the antiferromagnetic moments. Furthermore, the memristive features are preserved in sub-micron devices, facilitating nanoscale multi-level antiferromagnetic spintronic devices. Antiferromagnets have great promise for spin-based information processing, offering both high operation speed, and an immunity to stray fields. Here, Kang et al demonstrate electrical manipulation of the exchange-bias, without the need for a heavy metal layer.
Project description:In antiferromagnetic spintronics, the read-out of the staggered magnetization or Néel vector is the key obstacle to harnessing the ultra-fast dynamics and stability of antiferromagnets for novel devices. Here, we demonstrate strong exchange coupling of Mn2Au, a unique metallic antiferromagnet that exhibits Néel spin-orbit torques, with thin ferromagnetic Permalloy layers. This allows us to benefit from the well-established read-out methods of ferromagnets, while the essential advantages of antiferromagnetic spintronics are only slightly diminished. We show one-to-one imprinting of the antiferromagnetic on the ferromagnetic domain pattern. Conversely, alignment of the Permalloy magnetization reorients the Mn2Au Néel vector, an effect, which can be restricted to large magnetic fields by tuning the ferromagnetic layer thickness. To understand the origin of the strong coupling, we carry out high resolution electron microscopy imaging and we find that our growth yields an interface with a well-defined morphology that leads to the strong exchange coupling. Antiferromagnets offer faster operation speed and immunity to stray fields, however, readout of the Neel vector is difficult. Here, Bommanaboyena et al present a heterostructure of a ferromagnet and antiferromagnet, combining easy readout with the benefits of antiferromagnetic spintronics.
Project description:Electric currents carrying a net spin polarization are widely used in spintronics, whereas globally spin-neutral currents are expected to play no role in spin-dependent phenomena. Here we show that, in contrast to this common expectation, spin-independent conductance in compensated antiferromagnets and normal metals can be efficiently exploited in spintronics, provided their magnetic space group symmetry supports a non-spin-degenerate Fermi surface. Due to their momentum-dependent spin polarization, such antiferromagnets can be used as active elements in antiferromagnetic tunnel junctions (AFMTJs) and produce a giant tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) effect. Using RuO<sub>2</sub> as a representative compensated antiferromagnet exhibiting spin-independent conductance along the  direction but a non-spin-degenerate Fermi surface, we design a RuO<sub>2</sub>/TiO<sub>2</sub>/RuO<sub>2</sub> (001) AFMTJ, where a globally spin-neutral charge current is controlled by the relative orientation of the Néel vectors of the two RuO<sub>2</sub> electrodes, resulting in the TMR effect as large as ~500%. These results are expanded to normal metals which can be used as a counter electrode in AFMTJs with a single antiferromagnetic layer or other elements in spintronic devices. Our work uncovers an unexplored potential of the materials with no global spin polarization for utilizing them in spintronics.
Project description:Antiferromagnets have recently emerged as attractive platforms for spintronics applications, offering fundamentally new functionalities compared with their ferromagnetic counterparts. Whereas nanoscale thin-film materials are key to the development of future antiferromagnetic spintronic technologies, existing experimental tools tend to suffer from low resolution or expensive and complex equipment requirements. We offer a simple, high-resolution alternative by addressing the ubiquitous surface magnetization of magnetoelectric antiferromagnets in a granular thin-film sample on the nanoscale using single-spin magnetometry in combination with spin-sensitive transport experiments. Specifically, we quantitatively image the evolution of individual nanoscale antiferromagnetic domains in 200 nm thin films of Cr2O3 in real space and across the paramagnet-to-antiferromagnet phase transition, finding an average domain size of 230 nm, several times larger than the average grain size in the film. These experiments allow us to discern key properties of the Cr2O3 thin film, including the boundary magnetic moment density, the variation of critical temperature throughout the film, the mechanism of domain formation, and the strength of exchange coupling between individual grains comprising the film. Our work offers novel insights into the magnetic ordering mechanism of Cr2O3 and firmly establishes single-spin magnetometry as a versatile and widely applicable tool for addressing antiferromagnetic thin films on the nanoscale.