Research ArticleCONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS

Antiferromagnetic switching driven by the collective dynamics of a coexisting spin glass

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Science Advances  08 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 2, eabd8452
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd8452

Abstract

The theory behind the electrical switching of antiferromagnets is premised on the existence of a well-defined broken symmetry state that can be rotated to encode information. A spin glass is, in many ways, the antithesis of this state, characterized by an ergodic landscape of nearly degenerate magnetic configurations, choosing to freeze into a distribution of these in a manner that is seemingly bereft of information. Here, we show that the coexistence of spin glass and antiferromagnetic order allows a novel mechanism to facilitate the switching of the antiferromagnet Fe1/3 + δNbS2, rooted in the electrically stimulated collective winding of the spin glass. The local texture of the spin glass opens an anisotropic channel of interaction that can be used to rotate the equilibrium orientation of the antiferromagnetic state. Manipulating antiferromagnetic spin textures using a spin glass’ collective dynamics opens the field of antiferromagnetic spintronics to new material platforms with complex magnetic textures.

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