The magnetic interfacial Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction (DMI) in multilayered thin films can lead to chiral spin states, which are of paramount importance for future spintronic technologies1,2. Interfacial DMI typically manifests as an intralayer interaction, mediated via a paramagnetic heavy metal in systems lacking inversion symmetry3. Here we show that, by designing synthetic antiferromagnets with canted magnetization states4,5, it is also possible to observe direct evidence of the interfacial interlayer DMI at room temperature. The interlayer DMI breaks the symmetry of the magnetic reversal process via the emergence of non-collinear spin states, which results in chiral exchange-biased hysteresis loops. The spin chiral interlayer interactions reported here are expected to manifest in a range of multilayered thin-film systems, opening up as yet unexplored avenues for the development and exploitation of chiral effects in magnetic heterostructures6,7,8.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $16.58 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
All data associated to this publication is available via Enlighten, the University of Glasgow public repository. All metadata for this publication is available via the following link: https://doi.org/10.5525/gla.researchdata.787.
The atomistic and macrospin Monte Carlo codes used for this study are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.
Wiesendanger, R. Nanoscale magnetic skyrmions in metallic films and multilayers: a new twist for spintronics. Nat. Rev. Mater. 1, 16044 (2016).
Sander, D. et al. The 2017 magnetism roadmap. J. Phys. D 50, 363001 (2017).
Hellman, F. et al. Interface-induced phenomena in magnetism. Rev. Mod. Phys. 89, 025006 (2017).
Ummelen, F. C. et al. Controlling the canted state in antiferromagnetically coupled magnetic bilayers close to the spin reorientation transition. Appl. Phys. Lett. 110, 102405 (2017).
Fernandez-Pacheco, A. et al. Dynamic selective switching in antiferromagnetically-coupled bilayers close to the spin reorientation transition. Appl. Phys. Lett. 105, 092408 (2014).
Lavrijsen, R. et al. Magnetic ratchet for three-dimensional spintronic memory and logic. Nature 493, 647–650 (2013).
Fernández-Pacheco, A. et al. Three dimensional nanomagnetism. Nat. Commun. 8, 15756 (2017).
Baltz, V. et al. Antiferromagnetic spintronics. Rev. Mod. Phys. 90, 015005 (2018).
Woo, S. et al. Observation of room-temperature magnetic skyrmions and their current-driven dynamics in ultrathin metallic ferromagnets. Nat. Mater. 15, 501–506 (2016).
Boulle, O. et al. Room-temperature chiral magnetic skyrmions in ultrathin magnetic nanostructures. Nat. Nanotechnol. 11, 449–454 (2016).
Jué, E. et al. Chiral damping of magnetic domain walls. Nat. Mater. 15, 272–277 (2015).
Ryu, K.-S., Thomas, L., Yang, S.-H. & Parkin, S. Chiral spin torque at magnetic domain walls. Nat. Nanotechnol. 8, 527–533 (2013).
Levy, P. M. & Fert, A. Anisotropy induced by nonmagnetic impurities in Cu Mn spin-glass alloys. Phys. Rev. B 23, 4667–4690 (1981).
Crépieux, A. & Lacroix, C. Dzyaloshinsky–Moriya interactions induced by symmetry breaking at a surface. J. Magn. Magn. Mater. 182, 341–349 (1998).
Vedmedenko, E. Y., Arregi, J. A., Riego, P. & Berger, A. Interlayer Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interactions. Preprint at https://arxiv.org/abs/1803.10570 (2018).
Han, D.-S. et al. Long-range chiral exchange interaction in synthetic antiferromagnets. Nat. Mater. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-019-0370-z (2019).
Dupé, B., Hoffmann, M., Paillard, C. & Heinze, S. Tailoring magnetic skyrmions in ultra-thin transition metal films. Nat. Commun. 5, 4030 (2014).
Yang, H., Thiaville, A., Rohart, S., Fert, A. & Chshiev, M. Anatomy of Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction at Co/Pt interfaces. Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 267210 (2015).
Ives, A. J. R., Bland, J. A. C., Hicken, R. J. & Daboo, C. Oscillatory biquadratic coupling in Fe/Cr/Fe(001). Phys. Rev. B 55, 12428–12438 (1997).
Han, D. S. et al. Asymmetric hysteresis for probing Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction. Nano Lett. 16, 4438–4446 (2016).
Pizzini, S. et al. Chirality-induced asymmetric magnetic nucleation in Pt/Co/AlOx ultrathin microstructures. Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 047203 (2014).
Lee, J.-H. et al. Domain imaging during soliton propagation in a 3D magnetic ratchet. SPIN 03, 1340013 (2013).
Kisielewski, M. et al. Drastic changes of the domain size in an ultrathin magnetic film. J. Appl. Phys. 93, 6966–6968 (2003).
Kimura, T., Lashley, J. C. & Ramirez, A. P. Inversion-symmetry breaking in the noncollinear magnetic phase of the triangular-lattice antiferromagnet CuFeO2. Phys. Rev. B 73, 220401 (2006).
Ferré, J. et al. Magnetization-reversal processes in an ultrathin Co/Au film. Phys. Rev. B 55, 15092–15102 (1997).
Liu, Y., Zhou, B. & Zhu, J.-G. Field-free magnetization switching by utilizing the Spin Hall effect and interlayer exchange coupling of iridium. Sci. Rep. 9, 325 (2019).
Romming, N. et al. Competition of Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya and higher-order exchange interactions in Rh/Fe atomic bilayers on Ir(111). Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 207201 (2018).
Shahbazi, K. et al. Domain-wall motion and interfacial Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interactions in Pt/Co /Ir(t Ir)/Ta multilayers. Phys. Rev. B 99, 094409 (2019).
Di, K. et al. Asymmetric spin–wave dispersion due to Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction in an ultrathin Pt/CoFeB film. Appl. Phys. Lett. 106, 052403 (2015).
Wiese, N. et al. Antiferromagnetically coupled CoFeB/Ru/CoFeB trilayers. Appl. Phys. Lett. 85, 2020 (2004).
Lavrijsen, R. et al. Tuning the interlayer exchange coupling between single perpendicularly magnetized CoFeB layers. Appl. Phys. Lett. 100, 052411 (2012).
Raanaei, H. et al. Imprinting layer specific magnetic anisotropies in amorphous multilayers. J. Appl. Phys. 106, 023918 (2009).
Kang, S. P. et al. The spin structures of interlayer coupled magnetic films with opposite chirality. Sci. Rep. 8, 2361 (2018).
Eyrich, C. et al. Exchange stiffness in thin film Co alloys. J. Appl. Phys. 111, 07C919 (2012).
Perini, M. et al. Domain walls and Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction in epitaxial Co/Ir(111) and Pt/Co/Ir(111). Phys. Rev. B 97, 184425 (2018).
The authors acknowledge discussions with N. Jaouen, S. Stanescu and A. Hierro-Rodríguez, as well as experimental support from D. Sanz Hernández, A. Welbourne, P. Seem and I. Farrer. A.F.-P. acknowledges funding from an EPSRC Early Career Fellowship EP/M008517/1 and from the Winton Program for the Physics of Sustainability. E.V. acknowledges support from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 665095 (MAGicSky), and D.P. and R.P.C. acknowledge from the Templeton World Charity Foundation. F.U. acknowledges support from the Erasmus Mobility programme.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Fernández-Pacheco, A., Vedmedenko, E., Ummelen, F. et al. Symmetry-breaking interlayer Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interactions in synthetic antiferromagnets. Nat. Mater. 18, 679–684 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-019-0386-4
Reversible Switching of Interlayer Exchange Coupling through Atomically Thin VO2 via Electronic State Modulation
An extraordinary chiral exchange-bias phenomenon: engineering the sign of the bias field in orthogonal bilayers by a magnetically switchable response mechanism
Temperature-induced antiferromagnetic interlayer exchange coupling in (Ga,Mn)(As,P)-based trilayer structure
Journal of Applied Physics (2020)
External‐Field‐Free Spin Hall Switching of Perpendicular Magnetic Nanopillar with a Dipole‐Coupled Composite Structure
Advanced Electronic Materials (2020)