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

Abstract

In ferromagnetic conductors, an electric current may induce a transverse voltage drop in zero applied magnetic field: this anomalous Hall effect1 is observed to be proportional to magnetization, and thus is not usually seen in antiferromagnets in zero field2. Recent developments in theory and experiment have provided a framework for understanding the anomalous Hall effect using Berry-phase concepts3, 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 magnetization4,5,6,7,8. Although such a spontaneous Hall effect has now been observed in a spin liquid state9, 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 order10,11, 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 metals3. Notably, the chiral antiferromagnetic state has a very weak and soft ferromagnetic moment of about 0.002 Bohr magnetons per Mn atom (refs 10, 12), 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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Figure 1: Crystal and magnetic structures of Mn3Sn.
Figure 2: Magnetic field dependence of the AHE in Mn3Sn.
Figure 3: In-plane weak ferromagnetism in Mn3Sn.
Figure 4: Temperature evolution of the zero-field component of the AHE.

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Acknowledgements

We thank M. Ikhlas and A. Nevidomskyy for discussions. This work was partially supported by PRESTO, by the Japan Science and Technology Agency, by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (no. 25707030) and the Program for Advancing Strategic International Networks to Accelerate the Circulation of Talented Researchers (no. R2604), and by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (15H05882, 15H05883) from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. The use of the facilities of the Materials Design and Characterization Laboratory at the Institute for Solid State Physics, The University of Tokyo, is acknowledged.

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Contributions

S.N. planned the experimental project, and S.N. and N.K. performed experiments and collected data. S.N., N.K. and T.H. wrote the paper and prepared figures; all authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Satoru Nakatsuji.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Extended data figures and tables

Extended Data Figure 1 Normal and inverse triangular spin structures.

ad, Examples of normal (a, b) and inverse (c, d) triangular spin structures. An inverse triangular spin structure has the opposite sign of the vector spin chirality to a normal one. As each Mn moment has the local easy-axis parallel to the direction towards its in-plane nearest-neighbour Sn sites, the case shown in d is realized in Mn3Sn (refs 10, 11, 12).

Extended Data Figure 2 Estimation of the ordinary Hall effect using the c-axis components of the Hall resistivity.

a, b, Temperature dependence of the Hall resistivity divided by B, ρH/B (a), and the susceptibility M/B obtained under a field of 0.1 T along the c axis (b). Measurements were made above T = 50 K, where no spontaneous components were observed. c, Plot of ρH/B versus M/B; here the temperature is an implicit parameter. The solid line indicates a linear fit to equation (1), with defined in Methods.

Extended Data Figure 3 Magnetization dependence of the AF-driven Hall effect.

Figure shows anisotropic isothermal curves of as a function of M at 300 K.

Extended Data Table 1 Hall effect parameters for ferromagnets and antiferromagnets

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Nakatsuji, S., Kiyohara, N. & Higo, T. Large anomalous Hall effect in a non-collinear antiferromagnet at room temperature. Nature 527, 212–215 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature15723

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