Dirac surface state–modulated spin dynamics in a ferrimagnetic insulator at room temperature

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Science Advances  01 Jun 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 6, eaas8660
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aas8660


This work demonstrates markedly modified spin dynamics of magnetic insulator (MI) by the spin momentum–locked Dirac surface states of the adjacent topological insulator (TI), which can be harnessed for spintronic applications. As the Bi concentration x is systematically tuned in 5-nm-thick (BixSb1−x)2Te3 TI films, the weight of the surface relative to bulk states peaks at x = 0.32 when the chemical potential approaches the Dirac point. At this concentration, the Gilbert damping constant of the precessing magnetization in 10-nm-thick Y3Fe5O12 MI films in the MI/TI heterostructures is enhanced by an order of magnitude, the largest among all concentrations. In addition, the MI acquires additional strong magnetic anisotropy that favors the in-plane orientation with similar Bi concentration dependence. These extraordinary effects of the Dirac surface states distinguish TI from other materials such as heavy metals in modulating spin dynamics of the neighboring magnetic layer.

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