Optical determination of the Néel vector in a CuMnAs thin-film antiferromagnet

Saidl, V. and Němec, P. and Wadley, P. and Hills, V. and Campion, R.P. and Novák, V. and Edmonds, K.W. and Maccherozzi, F. and Dhesi, S.S. and Gallagher, B.L. and Trojánek, F. and Kunes, J. and Železný, J. and Malý, P. and Jungwirth, T. (2017) Optical determination of the Néel vector in a CuMnAs thin-film antiferromagnet. Nature Photonics, 11 . pp. 91-96. ISSN 1749-4893

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Abstract

Recent breakthroughs in electrical detection and manipulation of antiferromagnets have opened a new avenue in the research of non-volatile spintronic devices.1-10 Antiparallel spin sublattices in antiferromagnets, producing zero dipolar fields, lead to the insensitivity to magnetic field perturbations, multi-level stability, ultrafast spin dynamics and other favorable characteristics which may find utility in fields ranging from magnetic memories to optical signal processing. However, the absence of a net magnetic moment and the ultra-short magnetization dynamics timescales make antiferromagnets notoriously difficult to study by common magnetometers or magnetic resonance techniques. In this paper we demonstrate the experimental determination of the Néel vector in a thin film of antiferromagnetic CuMnAs9,10 which is the prominent material used in the first realization of antiferromagnetic memory chips.10 We employ a femtosecond pump-probe magneto-optical experiment based on magnetic linear dichroism. This table-top optical method is considerably more accessible than the traditionally employed large scale facility techniques like neutron diffraction11 and Xray magnetic dichroism measurements.12-14 This optical technique allows an unambiguous direct determination of the Néel vector orientation in thin antiferromagnetic films utilized in devices directly from measured data without fitting to a theoretical model.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Circular dichroism, Information storage, Nanoscale materials, Spintronics
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Physics and Astronomy
Identification Number: 10.1038/nphoton.2016.255
Depositing User: Edmonds, Kevin
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2017 10:39
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 01:35
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/41043

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