Demonstration of technologically feasible read-out for ultrafast and stable magnetic memory
Within spin-based electronics, i.e., spintronics, a novel approach promising ultrafast and stable magnetic memory is based on antiferromagnets as active elements. These materials without macroscopic magnetization but with a staggered orientation of their microscopic magnetic moments display intrinsic dynamics in the Terahertz (THz) range and are robust against magnetic fields.
However, technologically relevant read-out in spintronics requires significant magnetoresistance effects, i.e., resistance changes larger than 20 percent should be associated with a reorientation of the staggered magnetization. This represents a major challenge in antiferromagnetic spintronics.
New approach enables the well-established read-out methods of ferromagnets
As published in the online science journal Nature Communications, scientists of the Institute of Physics of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), within an international collaboration, were now able to demonstrate a strong exchange coupling of very thin ferromagnetic layers to the prototypical antiferromagnetic spintronics compound of manganese and gold (Mn2Au). This allows to benefit from the well-established read-out methods of ferromagnets enabling large magnetoresistance effects also in antiferromagnetic spintronics.
Spintronics is a major focus of research at the JGU Institute of Physics. The study was financially supported amongst others by the Transregional Collaborative Research Center 173 "Spin+X – Spin in its collective environment" of TU Kaiserslautern and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
Schematic of an exchange coupled Mn2Au (bottom layer) – ferromagnet bilayer, in which the antiferromagnetic domain pattern is perfectly imprinted into the ferromagnet (top layer).
ill./©: Sarah Jenkins
https://www.klaeui-lab.physik.uni-mainz.de – Kläui Lab at the JGU Institute of Physics ;
https://www.sinova-group.physik.uni-mainz.de/ – Interdisciplinary Spintronics Research (INSPIRE) Group at JGU ;
https://trr173.spin-engineering.de/ – Transregional Collaborative Research Center 173 "Spin+X – Spin in its collective environment"
https://www.uni-mainz.de/presse/aktuell/10211_ENG_HTML.php – press release "Physicists make one step toward using insulating antiferromagnetic materials in future computers" (25 Oct. 2019) ;
https://www.uni-mainz.de/presse/aktuell/9948_ENG_HTML.php – press release "ERC funding for research into three-dimensional magnetic nanostructures" (11 Oct. 2019) ;
https://www.uni-mainz.de/presse/aktuell/4356_ENG_HTML.php – press release "Construction set of magnon logic extended: Magnon spin currents can be controlled via spin valve structure" (14 March 2018) ;
https://www.uni-mainz.de/presse/aktuell/3937_ENG_HTML.php – press release "Antiferromagnets prove their potential for spin-based information technology" (29 Jan. 2018)
Professor Dr. Martin Jourdan
Condensed Matter Physics
Institute of Physics
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
55099 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 39-23635
S. P. Bommanaboyena et al., Readout of an antiferromagnetic spintronics system by strong exchange coupling of Mn2Au and Permalloy, Nature Communications 12: 6539, 11 November 2021,
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