Letter | Published:

Spin colossal magnetoresistance in an antiferromagnetic insulator

Nature Materialsvolume 17pages577580 (2018) | Download Citation

Abstract

Colossal magnetoresistance (CMR) refers to a large change in electrical conductivity induced by a magnetic field in the vicinity of a metal–insulator transition and has inspired extensive studies for decades1,2. Here we demonstrate an analogous spin effect near the Néel temperature, TN = 296 K, of the antiferromagnetic insulator Cr2O3. Using a yttrium iron garnet YIG/Cr2O3/Pt trilayer, we injected a spin current from the YIG into the Cr2O3 layer and collected, via the inverse spin Hall effect, the spin signal transmitted into the heavy metal Pt. We observed a two orders of magnitude difference in the transmitted spin current within 14 K of the Néel temperature. This transition between spin conducting and non-conducting states was also modulated by a magnetic field in isothermal conditions. This effect, which we term spin colossal magnetoresistance (SCMR), has the potential to simplify the design of fundamental spintronics components, for instance, by enabling the realization of spin-current switches or spin-current-based memories.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by JST-ERATO ‘Spin Quantum Rectification’, JST-PRESTO ‘Phase Interfaces for Highly Efficient Energy Utilization’, Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Area, ‘Nano Spin Conversion Science’ (26103005 and 26103006), Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (S) (25220910), Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) (25247056 and 15H02012), Grant-in-Aid for Challenging Exploratory Research (26600067), Grant-in-Aid for Research Activity Start-up (25889003) and World Premier International Research Center Initiative (WPI), all from MEXT, Japan. Z.Q. acknowledges support from the ‘Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (DUT17RC(3)073)’. D.H. acknowledges support from Grant-in-Aid for young scientists (B) (JP17K14331), J.B. acknowledges supports from the Graduate Program in Spintronics, Tohoku University, and Grand-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (17K14102). K.Y. and O.G. acknowledge support from the Humboldt Foundation and EU ERC Advanced Grant no. 268066. K.Y. acknowledges the Transregional Collaborative Research Center (SFB/TRR) 173 SPIN+X and DAAD project ‘MaHoJeRo’. O.G. acknowledges the EU FET Open RIA Grant no. 766566 and the DFG (project SHARP 397322108).

Author information

Author notes

    • Eiji Saitoh

    Present address: Department of applied physics, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Affiliations

  1. Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

    • Zhiyong Qiu
    • , Joseph Barker
    • , Kei Yamamoto
    •  & Eiji Saitoh
  2. Key Laboratory of Materials Modification by Laser, Ion, and Electron Beams (Ministry of Education), School of Materials Science and Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China

    • Zhiyong Qiu
  3. WPI Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

    • Dazhi Hou
    •  & Eiji Saitoh
  4. Institut für Physik, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, Mainz, Germany

    • Kei Yamamoto
    •  & Olena Gomonay
  5. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

    • Kei Yamamoto
  6. Centre of Materials for Information Technology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

    • Kei Yamamoto
  7. Advanced Science Research Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Tokai, Japan

    • Kei Yamamoto
    •  & Eiji Saitoh

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Contributions

Z.Q. and D.H. designed the experiment, Z.Q. fabricated the samples and collected all the data. Z.Q., D.H., J.B. and K.Y. analysed the data. J.B., K.Y. and O.G. contributed theoretical discussions. E.S. supervised this study. All the authors discussed the results and prepared the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dazhi Hou.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Notes 1–4, Supplementary Figures 1–3, Supplementary References 1–5

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-018-0087-4

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