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Antiferromagnetic spintronics

Abstract

Antiferromagnetic materials are internally magnetic, but the direction of their ordered microscopic moments alternates between individual atomic sites. The resulting zero net magnetic moment makes magnetism in antiferromagnets externally invisible. This implies that information stored in antiferromagnetic moments would be invisible to common magnetic probes, insensitive to disturbing magnetic fields, and the antiferromagnetic element would not magnetically affect its neighbours, regardless of how densely the elements are arranged in the device. The intrinsic high frequencies of antiferromagnetic dynamics represent another property that makes antiferromagnets distinct from ferromagnets. Among the outstanding questions is how to manipulate and detect the magnetic state of an antiferromagnet efficiently. In this Review we focus on recent works that have addressed this question. The field of antiferromagnetic spintronics can also be viewed from the general perspectives of spin transport, magnetic textures and dynamics, and materials research. We briefly mention this broader context, together with an outlook of future research and applications of antiferromagnetic spintronics.

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Figure 1: Antiferromagnetic memory.
Figure 2: Local spin-transfer torque in an antiferromagnet.
Figure 3: Readout by antiferromagnetic ohmic AMR.
Figure 4: Readout by antiferromagnetic TAMR.
Figure 5: Current-induced global and local spin polarizations.
Figure 6: Principles of electrical writing and readout in antiferromagnetic memories.
Figure 7: YIG/IrMn or YIG/Pt structures and the electrodes used to measure the d.c. voltage due to the ISHE in IrMn (Pt), resulting from the spin currents generated in the two configurations.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge support from the EU European Research Council (Advanced Grant No. 268066), the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic (Grant No. LM2011026) and the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (Grant No. 14-37427).

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Jungwirth, T., Marti, X., Wadley, P. et al. Antiferromagnetic spintronics. Nature Nanotech 11, 231–241 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2016.18

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