Correlation-driven eightfold magnetic anisotropy in a two-dimensional oxide monolayer

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Science Advances  10 Apr 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 15, eaay0114
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay0114


Engineering magnetic anisotropy in two-dimensional systems has enormous scientific and technological implications. The uniaxial anisotropy universally exhibited by two-dimensional magnets has only two stable spin directions, demanding 180° spin switching between states. We demonstrate a previously unobserved eightfold anisotropy in magnetic SrRuO3 monolayers by inducing a spin reorientation in (SrRuO3)1/(SrTiO3)N superlattices, in which the magnetic easy axis of Ru spins is transformed from uniaxial 〈001〉 direction (N < 3) to eightfold 〈111〉 directions (N ≥ 3). This eightfold anisotropy enables 71° and 109° spin switching in SrRuO3 monolayers, analogous to 71° and 109° polarization switching in ferroelectric BiFeO3. First-principle calculations reveal that increasing the SrTiO3 layer thickness induces an emergent correlation-driven orbital ordering, tuning spin-orbit interactions and reorienting the SrRuO3 monolayer easy axis. Our work demonstrates that correlation effects can be exploited to substantially change spin-orbit interactions, stabilizing unprecedented properties in two-dimensional magnets and opening rich opportunities for low-power, multistate device applications.

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