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Dipolar spin wave packet transport in a van der Waals antiferromagnet


Antiferromagnets are promising platforms for transduction and transmission of quantum information via magnons—the quanta of spin waves—and they offer advantages over ferromagnets in regard to dissipation, speed of response and robustness to external fields. Recently, transduction was shown in a van der Waals antiferromagnet, where strong spin-exciton coupling enables readout of the amplitude and phase of coherent magnons by photons of visible light. This discovery shifts the focus of research to transmission, specifically to exploring the non-local interactions that enable magnon wave packets to propagate. Here we demonstrate that magnon propagation is mediated by long-range dipole–dipole interaction. This coupling is an inevitable consequence of fundamental electrodynamics and, as such, will likely mediate the propagation of spin at long wavelengths in the entire class of van der Waals magnets currently under investigation. Successfully identifying the mechanism of spin propagation provides a set of optimization rules, as well as caveats, that are essential for any future applications of these promising systems.

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Fig. 1: Mode-selective detection of coherent magnons.
Fig. 2: Detection of coherent magnon propagation.
Fig. 3: Spin waves in CrSBr.
Fig. 4: Thickness dependence of magnon group velocity.
Fig. 5: Signatures of non-linear magnon dispersion.
Fig. 6: Range of coherent magnon propagation.

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Code availability

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We acknowledge the support of the Quantum Materials programme under the Director, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division of the US Department of Energy, contract no. DE-AC02-05-CH11231. J.O and Y.S received support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s EPiQS Initiative through grant no. GBMF4537 to J.O. at University of California Berkeley. F.M. and J.Y. acknowledge support from the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division under contract no. DE-AC02-05-CH11231 (Organic-Inorganic Nanocomposites KC3104). C.L. received support from Hanyang University through startup grant no. HY-202300000001173 and from the National Research Foundation of Korea through grant no. RS-2023-00212540. Z.S. was supported by the ERC-CZ programme (project no. LL2101) from the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports and used large infrastructure from project reg. no. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000444 financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

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Authors and Affiliations



Y.S. and J.O. designed the research. Y.S. carried out all the optical measurements with assistance from C.L. under the supervision of J.O. Bulk crystals were synthesized and characterized by A.S. under the supervision of Z.S. F.M. prepared and characterized thin flakes under the supervision of J.Y. Atomic force microscope measurements were performed by H.Z. and F.M. under the supervision of R.R. Theoretical analysis was performed by Y.S. and J.O. Y.S. and J.O. wrote the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joseph Orenstein.

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Nature Physics thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary sections 1–12 and Figs. 1–12.

Supplementary Code

Mathematica code to calculate dipolar magnon dispersion in antiferromagnets.

Source data

Source Data Fig. 1

Source data for mode-selective detection of coherent magnons.

Source Data Fig. 2

Source data for detection of coherent magnon propagation.

Source Data Fig. 3

Source data for spin waves in CrSBr.

Source Data Fig. 4

Source data for thickness dependence of magnon group velocity.

Source Data Fig. 5

Source data for signatures of non-linear magnon dispersion.

Source Data Fig. 6

Source data for the range of coherent magnon propagation.

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Sun, Y., Meng, F., Lee, C. et al. Dipolar spin wave packet transport in a van der Waals antiferromagnet. Nat. Phys. 20, 794–800 (2024).

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