Large anomalous Hall effect in a non-collinear antiferromagnet at room temperature

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In ferromagnetic conductors, an electric current may induce a transverse voltage drop in zero applied magnetic field: this anomalous Hall effect is observed to be proportional to magnetization, and thus is not usually seen in antiferromagnets in zero field. Recent developments in theory and experiment have provided a framework for understanding the anomalous Hall effect using Berry-phase concepts, and this perspective has led to predictions that, under certain conditions, a large anomalous Hall effect may appear in spin liquids and antiferromagnets without net spin magnetization. Although such a spontaneous Hall effect has now been observed in a spin liquid state, a zero-field anomalous Hall effect has hitherto not been reported for antiferromagnets. Here we report empirical evidence for a large anomalous Hall effect in an antiferromagnet that has vanishingly small magnetization. In particular, we find that Mn3Sn, an antiferromagnet that has a non-collinear 120-degree spin order, exhibits a large anomalous Hall conductivity of around 20 per ohm per centimetre at room temperature and more than 100 per ohm per centimetre at low temperatures, reaching the same order of magnitude as in ferromagnetic metals. Notably, the chiral antiferromagnetic state has a very weak and soft ferromagnetic moment of about 0.002 Bohr magnetons per Mn atom, allowing us to switch the sign of the Hall effect with a small magnetic field of around a few hundred oersted. This soft response of the large anomalous Hall effect could be useful for various applications including spintronics—for example, to develop a memory device that produces almost no perturbing stray fields.

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  1. Institute for Solid State Physics, University of Tokyo, Kashiwa 277-8581, Japan. PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), 4-1-8 Honcho Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan. CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), 4-1-8 Honcho Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan.

    • S. Nakatsuji

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