Topological magneto-optical effects and their quantization in non-coplanar antiferromagnets
W. Feng, J.-P. Hanke, X. Zhou, G.-Y. Guo, S. Blügel, Y. Mokrousov, Y. Yao
Nature Communications 11, 118 (2020)
Reflecting the fundamental interactions of polarized light with magnetic matter, magneto-optical effects are well known since more than a century. The emergence of these phenomena is commonly attributed to the interplay between exchange splitting and spin-orbit coupling in the electronic structure of magnets. Using theoretical arguments, we demonstrate that topological magneto-optical effects can arise in noncoplanar antiferromagnets due to the finite scalar spin chirality, without any reference to exchange splitting or spin-orbit coupling. We propose spectral integrals of certain magneto-optical quantities that uncover the unique topological nature of the discovered effect. We also find that the Kerr and Faraday rotation angles can be quantized in insulating topological antiferromagnets in the low-frequency limit, owing to nontrivial global properties that manifest in quantum topological magneto-optical effects. Although the predicted topological and quantum topological magneto-optical effects are fundamentally distinct from conventional light-matter interactions, they can be measured by readily available experimental techniques.
Long-range chiral exchange interaction in synthetic antiferromagnets
D.-S. Han, K. Lee, J.-P. Hanke, Y. Mokrousov, K.-W. Kim, W. Yoo, Y. L. W. van Hees, T.-W. Kim, R. Lavrijsen, C.-Y. You, H. J. M. Swagten, M.-H. Jung and M. Kläui,
Nature Materials (2019) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-019-0370-z
The exchange interaction governs static and dynamic magnetism. This fundamental interaction comes in two flavours—symmetric and antisymmetric. The symmetric interaction leads to ferro- and antiferromagnetism, and the antisymmetric interaction has attracted significant interest owing to its major role in promoting topologically non-trivial spin textures that promise fast, energy-efficient devices. So far, the antisymmetric exchange interaction has been found to be rather short ranged and limited to a single magnetic layer. Here we report a long-range antisymmetric interlayer exchange interaction in perpendicularly magnetized synthetic antiferromagnets with parallel and antiparallel magnetization alignments. Asymmetric hysteresis loops under an in-plane field reveal a unidirectional and chiral nature of this interaction, which results in canted magnetic structures. We explain our results by considering spin–orbit coupling combined with reduced symmetry in multilayers. Our discovery of a long-range chiral interaction provides an additional handle to engineer magnetic structures and could enable three-dimensional topological structures.
Hybrid quantum anomalous Hall effect at graphene-oxide interfaces
Physical Review B 98, 155404 (2018)
Interfaces are ubiquitous in materials science, and in devices in particular. As device dimensions are constantly shrinking, understanding the physical properties emerging at interfaces is crucial to exploit them for applications, here for spintronics. Using first-principles techniques and Monte Carlo simulations, we investigate the mutual magnetic interaction at the interface between graphene and an antiferromagnetic semiconductor BaMnO3. We find that graphene deeply affects the magnetic state of the substrate, down to several layers below the interface, by inducing an overall magnetic softening, and switching the in-plane magnetic ordering from antiferromagnetic to ferromagnetic. The graphene-BaMnO3 system presents a Rashba gap 300 times larger than in pristine graphene, leading to a flavor of quantum anomalous Hall effect (QAHE), a hybrid QAHE, characterized by the coexistence of metallic and topological insulating states. These findings could be exploited to fabricate devices that use graphene to control the magnetic configuration of a substrate.
Modification of Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya-Interaction-Stabilized Domain Wall Chirality by Driving Currents
Physical Review Letters 121, 147203 (2018)
We measure and analyze the chirality of Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya-interaction (DMI) stabilized spin textures in multilayers of Ta/Co20F60B20/MgO. The effective DMI is measured experimentally using domain wall motion measurements, both in the presence (using spin-orbit torques) and absence of driving currents (using magnetic fields). We observe that the current-induced domain wall motion yields a change in effective DMI magnitude and opposite domain wall chirality when compared to field-induced domain wall motion (without current). We explore this effect, which we refer to as current-induced DMI, by providing possible explanations for its emergence, and explore the possibility of its manifestation in the framework of recent theoretical predictions of DMI modifications due to spin currents.
Engineering Chiral and Topological Orbital Magnetism of Domain Walls and Skyrmions
F. Lux, F. Freimuth, S. Blügel, Y. Mokrousov
Communications Physics 1, 60 (2018)
Electrons which are slowly moving through chiral magnetic textures can effectively be described as if they where influenced by electromagnetic fields emerging from the real-space topology. This adiabatic viewpoint has been very successful in predicting physical properties of chiral magnets. Here, based on a rigorous quantum-mechanical approach, we unravel the emergence of chiral and topological orbital magnetism in one- and two-dimensional spin systems. We uncover that the quantized orbital magnetism in the adiabatic limit can be understood as a Landau-Peierls response to the emergent magnetic field. Our central result is that the spin-orbit interaction in interfacial skyrmions and domain walls can be used to tune the orbital magnetism over orders of magnitude by merging the real-space topology with the topology in reciprocal space. Our findings point out the route to experimental engineering of orbital properties of chiral spin systems, thereby paving the way to the field of chiral orbitronics.
Jan-Philipp Hanke defended today his PhD thesis with the title "Topological properties of complex magnets from an advanced ab-initio Wannier description" - way to go Jan!