Spin-current probe for phase transition in an insulator

Nat Commun. 2016 Aug 30;7:12670. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12670.

Abstract

Spin fluctuation and transition have always been one of the central topics of magnetism and condensed matter science. Experimentally, the spin fluctuation is found transcribed onto scattering intensity in the neutron-scattering process, which is represented by dynamical magnetic susceptibility and maximized at phase transitions. Importantly, a neutron carries spin without electric charge, and therefore it can bring spin into a sample without being disturbed by electric energy. However, large facilities such as a nuclear reactor are necessary. Here we show that spin pumping, frequently used in nanoscale spintronic devices, provides a desktop microprobe for spin transition; spin current is a flux of spin without an electric charge and its transport reflects spin excitation. We demonstrate detection of antiferromagnetic transition in ultra-thin CoO films via frequency-dependent spin-current transmission measurements, which provides a versatile probe for phase transition in an electric manner in minute devices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.