Applied Physics

Magnetized at the Interface

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Science  10 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6069, pp. 636
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6069.636-b

Magnetism arises when electron spins in a solid align parallel (ferromagnetism) or antiparallel (antiferromagnetism) to each other. Especially useful in today's computer industry is the so-called exchange bias, a somewhat counterintuitive phenomenon whereby an antiferromagnet (AFM) interfaced with a ferromagnet (FM) biases the preferred direction of the magnetization of the FM despite having zero net magnetization of its own. Gibert et al. now demonstrate the exchange bias effect in an artificial lattice consisting of alternating thin layers of the normally nonmagnetic LaNiO3 and the magnetic LaMnO3. When sliced thinly, LaMnO3 is a FM, and the authors show that its magnetization curve is shifted by the presence of LaNiO3, as is typical in exchange bias systems; this suggests that LaNiO3 develops magnetic ordering as well. Previous work has indicated the presence of AFM order in thin films of LaNiO3; the authors' numerical modeling suggests that a modulated spin distribution resembling a spin wave is created in the nickelate.

Nat. Mater. 11, 10.1038/nmat3224 (2012).

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