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Current polarity-dependent manipulation of antiferromagnetic domains

DOI: 10.1038/s41565-018-0079-1 DOI Help

Authors: Peter Wadley (University of Nottingham) , Sonka Reimers (University of Nottingham) , Michal J. Grzybowski (Polish Academy of Sciences) , Carl Andrews (University of Nottingham) , Mu Wang (University of Nottingham) , Jasbinder S. Chauhan (University of Nottingham) , Bryan L. Gallagher (University of Nottingham) , Richard P. Campion (University of Nottingham) , Kevin W. Edmonds (University of Nottingham) , Sarnjeet S. Dhesi (Diamond Light Source) , Francesco Maccherozzi (Diamond Light Source) , Vit Novak (Institute of Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) , Joerg Wunderlich (Institute of Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) , Tomas Jungwirth (University of Nottingham; Institute of Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Nature Nanotechnology , VOL 11

State: Published (Approved)
Published: March 2018
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 16376

Abstract: Antiferromagnets have several favourable properties as active elements in spintronic devices, including ultra-fast dynamics, zero stray fields and insensitivity to external magnetic fields1. Tetragonal CuMnAs is a testbed system in which the antiferromagnetic order parameter can be switched reversibly at ambient conditions using electrical currents2. In previous experiments, orthogonal in-plane current pulses were used to induce 90° rotations of antiferromagnetic domains and demonstrate the operation of all-electrical memory bits in a multi-terminal geometry3. Here, we demonstrate that antiferromagnetic domain walls can be manipulated to realize stable and reproducible domain changes using only two electrical contacts. This is achieved by using the polarity of the current to switch the sign of the current-induced effective field acting on the antiferromagnetic sublattices. The resulting reversible domain and domain wall reconfigurations are imaged using X-ray magnetic linear dichroism microscopy, and can also be detected electrically. Switching by domain-wall motion can occur at much lower current densities than those needed for coherent domain switching.

Journal Keywords: Applied physics; Condensed-matter physics; Electronics, photonics and device physics; Nanoscale devices; Nanoscale materials

Subject Areas: Physics

Instruments: I06-Nanoscience