SPINTRONICS

Strain controls antiferromagnetism

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Science  08 Feb 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6427, pp. 596
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6427.596-f

Antiferromagnetic (AFM) materials—materials in which neighboring spins point in opposite directions—have an important advantage over the better-known ferromagnets: Their properties are much less sensitive to external magnetic fields. This, however, also makes AFM devices trickier to control. Yan et al. grew a film of AFM manganese platinum on a piezoelectric substrate. Applying an electric field resulted in strain in the substrate through the inverse piezoelectric effect. This strain in turn altered the magnetic properties of the adjacent AFM film, changing its electrical resistance. Based on this mechanism, the researchers were able to electrically switch the resistance of the film between two values, an operation that was insensitive to magnetic fields up to 60 tesla.

Nat. Nano. 10.1038/s41565-018-0339-0 (2019).

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