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Probing magnetism in 2D van der Waals crystalline insulators via electron tunneling

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Science  03 May 2018:
eaar3617
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar3617

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Abstract

Magnetic insulators are a key resource for next-generation spintronic and topological devices. The family of layered metal halides promises varied magnetic states including ultrathin insulating multiferroics, spin liquids, and ferromagnets, but device-oriented characterization methods are needed to unlock their potential. Here, we report tunneling through the layered magnetic insulator CrI3 as a function of temperature and applied magnetic field. We electrically detect the magnetic ground state and inter-layer coupling and observe a field-induced metamagnetic transition. The metamagnetic transition results in magnetoresistances of 95%, 300%, and 550% for bilayer, trilayer, and tetralayer CrI3 barriers, respectively. We further measure inelastic tunneling spectra for our junctions, unveiling a rich spectrum consistent with collective magnetic excitations (magnons) in CrI3.

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