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Journal Article

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


Zelezny,  J.
Inorganic Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Max Planck Society;

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Saidl, V., Nemec, P., Wadley, P., Hills, V., Campion, R. P., Novak, V., et al. (2017). Optical determination of the Néel vector in a CuMnAs thin-film antiferromagnet. Nature Photonics, 11(2), 91-96. doi:10.1038/NPHOTON.2016.255.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-E03C-A
Recent breakthroughs in the 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 insensitivity to magnetic field perturbations, multi-level stability, ultrafast spin dynamics and other favourable characteristics, and may find utility in fields ranging from magnetic memories to optical signal processing. However, the absence of a net magnetic moment and ultrashort magnetization dynamics timescales make antiferromagnets notoriously difficult to study using common magnetometers or magnetic resonance techniques. Here, we demonstrate the experimental determination of the Neel vector in a thin film of antiferromagnetic CuMnAs (refs 9,10), a prominent material used in the first realization of antiferromagnetic memory chips(10). We use a table-top femtosecond pump probe magneto-optical experiment that is considerably more accessible than the traditionally employed large-scale-facility techniques such as neutron diffraction(11) and X-ray magnetic dichroism measurements(12-16).