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1.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6539, 2021 Nov 11.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34764314

RESUMEN

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.

2.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 5715, 2020 Nov 11.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33177506

RESUMEN

The ability to represent information using an antiferromagnetic material is attractive for future antiferromagnetic spintronic devices. Previous studies have focussed on the utilization of antiferromagnetic materials with biaxial magnetic anisotropy for electrical manipulation. A practical realization of these antiferromagnetic devices is limited by the requirement of material-specific constraints. Here, we demonstrate current-induced switching in a polycrystalline PtMn/Pt metallic heterostructure. A comparison of electrical transport measurements in PtMn with and without the Pt layer, corroborated by x-ray imaging, reveals reversible switching of the thermally-stable antiferromagnetic Néel vector by spin-orbit torques. The presented results demonstrate the potential of polycrystalline metals for antiferromagnetic spintronics.

3.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 3190, 2020 Jun 24.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32581280

RESUMEN

Epitaxial films may be released from growth substrates and transferred to structurally and chemically incompatible substrates, but epitaxial films of transition metal perovskite oxides have not been transferred to electroactive substrates for voltage control of their myriad functional properties. Here we demonstrate good strain transmission at the incoherent interface between a strain-released film of epitaxially grown ferromagnetic La0.7Sr0.3MnO3 and an electroactive substrate of ferroelectric 0.68Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3-0.32PbTiO3 in a different crystallographic orientation. Our strain-mediated magnetoelectric coupling compares well with respect to epitaxial heterostructures, where the epitaxy responsible for strong coupling can degrade film magnetization via strain and dislocations. Moreover, the electrical switching of magnetic anisotropy is repeatable and non-volatile. High-resolution magnetic vector maps reveal that micromagnetic behaviour is governed by electrically controlled strain and cracks in the film. Our demonstration should inspire others to control the physical/chemical properties in strain-released epitaxial oxide films by using electroactive substrates to impart strain via non-epitaxial interfaces.

4.
Nanoscale ; 12(9): 5652-5657, 2020 Mar 07.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32101212

RESUMEN

Using photoemission electron microscopy (PEEM) to image ferromagnetism in polycrystalline Ni disks, and ferroelectricity in their single-crystal BaTiO3 substrates, we find that voltage-driven 90° ferroelectric domain switching serves to reversibly annihilate each magnetic vortex via uniaxial compressive strain, and that the orientation of the resulting bi-domain reveals the chirality of the annihilated vortex. Micromagnetic simulations reveal that only 60% of this strain is required for annihilation. Voltage control of magnetic vortices is novel, and should be energetically favourable with respect to the use of a magnetic field or an electrical current. In future, stray field from bi-domains could be exploited to read vortex chirality. Given that core polarity can already be read via stray field, our work represents a step towards four-state low-power memory applications.

5.
Nat Mater ; 18(8): 840-845, 2019 08.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31110346

RESUMEN

Large changes in the magnetization of ferromagnetic films can be electrically driven by non-180° ferroelectric domain switching in underlying substrates, but the shear components of the strains that mediate these magnetoelectric effects have not been considered so far. Here we reveal the presence of these shear strains in a polycrystalline film of Ni on a 0.68Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3-0.32PbTiO3 substrate in the pseudo-cubic (011)pc orientation. Although vibrating sample magnetometry records giant magnetoelectric effects that are consistent with the hitherto expected 90° rotations of a global magnetic easy axis, high-resolution vector maps of magnetization (constructed from photoemission electron microscopy data, with contrast from X-ray magnetic circular dichroism) reveal that the local magnetization typically rotates through smaller angles of 62-84°. This shortfall with respect to 90° is a consequence of the shear strain associated with ferroelectric domain switching. The non-orthogonality represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the development and miniaturization of magnetoelectric devices.

6.
Nat Commun ; 8(1): 1583, 2017 11 17.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29146896

RESUMEN

Exploiting multiferroic BiFeO3 thin films in spintronic devices requires deterministic and robust control of both internal magnetoelectric coupling in BiFeO3, as well as exchange coupling of its antiferromagnetic order to a ferromagnetic overlayer. Previous reports utilized approaches based on multi-step ferroelectric switching with multiple ferroelectric domains. Because domain walls can be responsible for fatigue, contain localized charges intrinsically or via defects, and present problems for device reproducibility and scaling, an alternative approach using a monodomain magnetoelectric state with single-step switching is desirable. Here we demonstrate room temperature, deterministic and robust, exchange coupling between monodomain BiFeO3 films and Co overlayer that is intrinsic (i.e., not dependent on domain walls). Direct coupling between BiFeO3 antiferromagnetic order and Co magnetization is observed, with ~ 90° in-plane Co moment rotation upon single-step switching that is reproducible for hundreds of cycles. This has important consequences for practical, low power non-volatile magnetoelectric devices utilizing BiFeO3.

7.
Sci Rep ; 7(1): 11147, 2017 09 11.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28894219

RESUMEN

Using x-ray magnetic circular and linear dichroism techniques, we demonstrate a collinear exchange coupling between an epitaxial antiferromagnet, tetragonal CuMnAs, and an Fe surface layer. A small uncompensated Mn magnetic moment is observed which is antiparallel to the Fe magnetization. The staggered magnetization of the 5 nm thick CuMnAs layer is rotatable under small magnetic fields, due to the interlayer exchange coupling. This allows us to obtain the x-ray magnetic linear dichroism spectra for different crystalline orientations of CuMnAs in the (001) plane. This is a key parameter for enabling the understanding of domain structures in CuMnAs imaged using x-ray magnetic linear dichroism microscopy techniques.

8.
Struct Dyn ; 4(4): 044007, 2017 Jul.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28345009

RESUMEN

Resonant optical excitation of apical oxygen vibrational modes in the normal state of underdoped YBa2Cu3O6+x induces a transient state with optical properties similar to those of the equilibrium superconducting state. Amongst these, a divergent imaginary conductivity and a plasma edge are transiently observed in the photo-stimulated state. Femtosecond hard x-ray diffraction experiments have been used in the past to identify the transient crystal structure in this non-equilibrium state. Here, we start from these crystallographic features and theoretically predict the corresponding electronic rearrangements that accompany these structural deformations. Using density functional theory, we predict enhanced hole-doping of the CuO2 planes. The empty chain Cu dy2-z2 orbital is calculated to strongly reduce in energy, which would increase c-axis transport and potentially enhance the interlayer Josephson coupling as observed in the THz-frequency response. From these results, we calculate changes in the soft x-ray absorption spectra at the Cu L-edge. Femtosecond x-ray pulses from a free electron laser are used to probe changes in absorption at two photon energies along this spectrum and provide data consistent with these predictions.

9.
Phys Rev Lett ; 118(5): 057701, 2017 Feb 03.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28211721

RESUMEN

The magnetic order in antiferromagnetic materials is hard to control with external magnetic fields. Using x-ray magnetic linear dichroism microscopy, we show that staggered effective fields generated by electrical current can induce modification of the antiferromagnetic domain structure in microdevices fabricated from a tetragonal CuMnAs thin film. A clear correlation between the average domain orientation and the anisotropy of the electrical resistance is demonstrated, with both showing reproducible switching in response to orthogonally applied current pulses. However, the behavior is inhomogeneous at the submicron level, highlighting the complex nature of the switching process in multidomain antiferromagnetic films.

10.
Phys Rev Lett ; 118(2): 027401, 2017 Jan 13.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28128616

RESUMEN

Selective optical excitation of a substrate lattice can drive phase changes across heterointerfaces. This phenomenon is a nonequilibrium analogue of static strain control in heterostructures and may lead to new applications in optically controlled phase change devices. Here, we make use of time-resolved nonresonant and resonant x-ray diffraction to clarify the underlying physics and to separate different microscopic degrees of freedom in space and time. We measure the dynamics of the lattice and that of the charge disproportionation in NdNiO_{3}, when an insulator-metal transition is driven by coherent lattice distortions in the LaAlO_{3} substrate. We find that charge redistribution propagates at supersonic speeds from the interface into the NdNiO_{3} film, followed by a sonic lattice wave. When combined with measurements of magnetic disordering and of the metal-insulator transition, these results establish a hierarchy of events for ultrafast control at complex-oxide heterointerfaces.

11.
Nat Commun ; 7: 13141, 2016 11 02.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27804954

RESUMEN

Nucleation processes of mixed-phase states are an intrinsic characteristic of first-order phase transitions, typically related to local symmetry breaking. Direct observation of emerging mixed-phase regions in materials showing a first-order metal-insulator transition (MIT) offers unique opportunities to uncover their driving mechanism. Using photoemission electron microscopy, we image the nanoscale formation and growth of insulating domains across the temperature-driven MIT in NdNiO3 epitaxial thin films. Heteroepitaxy is found to strongly determine the nanoscale nature of the phase transition, inducing preferential formation of striped domains along the terraces of atomically flat stepped surfaces. We show that the distribution of transition temperatures is a local property, set by surface morphology and stable across multiple temperature cycles. Our data provide new insights into the MIT of heteroepitaxial nickelates and point to a rich, nanoscale phenomenology in this strongly correlated material.

12.
Phys Rev Lett ; 117(17): 177601, 2016 Oct 21.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27824475

RESUMEN

The physical properties of epitaxial films can fundamentally differ from those of bulk single crystals even above the critical thickness. By a combination of nonresonant x-ray magnetic scattering, neutron diffraction and vector-mapped x-ray magnetic linear dichroism photoemission electron microscopy, we show that epitaxial (111)-BiFeO_{3} films support submicron antiferromagnetic domains, which are magnetoelastically coupled to a coherent crystallographic monoclinic twin structure. This unique texture, which is absent in bulk single crystals, should enable control of magnetism in BiFeO_{3} film devices via epitaxial strain.

13.
Phys Rev Lett ; 117(14): 147201, 2016 Sep 30.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27740785

RESUMEN

We report a spin valve with a few-layer graphene flake bridging highly spin-polarized La_{0.67}Sr_{0.33}MnO_{3} electrodes, whose surfaces are kept clean during lithographic definition. Sharp magnetic switching is verified using photoemission electron microscopy with x-ray magnetic circular dichroism contrast. A naturally occurring high interfacial resistance ∼12 MΩ facilitates spin injection, and a large resistive switching (0.8 MΩ at 10 K) implies a 70-130 µm spin diffusion length that exceeds previous values obtained with sharp-switching electrodes.

14.
Science ; 351(6273): 587-90, 2016 Feb 05.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26841431

RESUMEN

Antiferromagnets are hard to control by external magnetic fields because of the alternating directions of magnetic moments on individual atoms and the resulting zero net magnetization. However, relativistic quantum mechanics allows for generating current-induced internal fields whose sign alternates with the periodicity of the antiferromagnetic lattice. Using these fields, which couple strongly to the antiferromagnetic order, we demonstrate room-temperature electrical switching between stable configurations in antiferromagnetic CuMnAs thin-film devices by applied current with magnitudes of order 10(6) ampere per square centimeter. Electrical writing is combined in our solid-state memory with electrical readout and the stored magnetic state is insensitive to and produces no external magnetic field perturbations, which illustrates the unique merits of antiferromagnets for spintronics.

15.
Sci Rep ; 5: 17079, 2015 Nov 25.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26602978

RESUMEN

Tetragonal CuMnAs is an antiferromagnetic material with favourable properties for applications in spintronics. Using a combination of neutron diffraction and x-ray magnetic linear dichroism, we determine the spin axis and magnetic structure in tetragonal CuMnAs, and reveal the presence of an interfacial uniaxial magnetic anisotropy. From the temperature-dependence of the neutron diffraction intensities, the Néel temperature is shown to be (480 ± 5) K. Ab initio calculations indicate a weak anisotropy in the (ab) plane for bulk crystals, with a large anisotropy energy barrier between in-plane and perpendicular-to-plane directions.

16.
Nat Mater ; 14(9): 883-8, 2015 Sep.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26147844

RESUMEN

Static strain in complex oxide heterostructures has been extensively used to engineer electronic and magnetic properties at equilibrium. In the same spirit, deformations of the crystal lattice with light may be used to achieve functional control across heterointerfaces dynamically. Here, by exciting large-amplitude infrared-active vibrations in a LaAlO3 substrate we induce magnetic order melting in a NdNiO3 film across a heterointerface. Femtosecond resonant soft X-ray diffraction is used to determine the spatiotemporal evolution of the magnetic disordering. We observe a magnetic melt front that propagates from the substrate interface into the film, at a speed that suggests electronically driven motion. Light control and ultrafast phase front propagation at heterointerfaces may lead to new opportunities in optomagnetism, for example by driving domain wall motion to transport information across suitably designed devices.

17.
Phys Rev Lett ; 114(9): 097401, 2015 Mar 06.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25793848

RESUMEN

The prospect of optically inducing and controlling a spin-polarized current in spintronic devices has generated wide interest in the out-of-equilibrium electronic and spin structure of topological insulators. In this Letter we show that only measuring the spin intensity signal over several orders of magnitude by spin-, time-, and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy can provide a comprehensive description of the optically excited electronic states in Bi_{2}Se_{3}. Our experiments reveal the existence of a surface resonance state in the second bulk band gap that is benchmarked by fully relativistic ab initio spin-resolved photoemission calculations. We propose that the newly reported state plays a major role in the ultrafast dynamics of the system, acting as a bottleneck for the interaction between the topologically protected surface state and the bulk conduction band. In fact, the spin-polarization dynamics in momentum space show that these states display macroscopically different temperatures and, more importantly, different cooling rates over several picoseconds.

18.
Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci ; 373(2036)2015 Mar 06.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25624510

RESUMEN

We review some of the significant contributions to the field of strongly correlated materials and complex magnets, arising from experiments performed at the Diamond Light Source (Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Didcot, UK) during the first few years of operation (2007-2014). We provide a comprehensive overview of Diamond research on topological insulators, multiferroics, complex oxides and magnetic nanostructures. Several experiments on ultrafast dynamics, magnetic imaging, photoemission electron microscopy, soft X-ray holography and resonant magnetic hard and soft X-ray scattering are described.

19.
Phys Rev Lett ; 112(15): 157002, 2014 Apr 18.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24785066

RESUMEN

We report femtosecond resonant soft x-ray diffraction measurements of the dynamics of the charge order and of the crystal lattice in nonsuperconducting, stripe-ordered La1.875Ba0.125CuO4. Excitation of the in-plane Cu-O stretching phonon with a midinfrared pulse has been previously shown to induce a transient superconducting state in the closely related compound La1.675Eu0.2Sr0.125CuO4. In La1.875Ba0.125CuO4, we find that the charge stripe order melts promptly on a subpicosecond time scale. Surprisingly, the low temperature tetragonal (LTT) distortion is only weakly reduced, reacting on significantly longer time scales that do not correlate with light-induced superconductivity. This experiment suggests that charge modulations alone, and not the LTT distortion, prevent superconductivity in equilibrium.

20.
Nat Mater ; 12(1): 52-8, 2013 Jan.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23104152

RESUMEN

Large thermal changes driven by a magnetic field have been proposed for environmentally friendly energy-efficient refrigeration, but only a few materials that suffer hysteresis show these giant magnetocaloric effects. Here we create giant and reversible extrinsic magnetocaloric effects in epitaxial films of the ferromagnetic manganite La(0.7)Ca(0.3)MnO(3) using strain-mediated feedback from BaTiO(3) substrates near a first-order structural phase transition. Our findings should inspire the discovery of giant magnetocaloric effects in a wide range of magnetic materials, and the parallel development of nanostructured bulk samples for practical applications.

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