Tunable Sign Change of Spin Hall Magnetoresistance in Pt/NiO/YIG Structures

Phys Rev Lett. 2017 Apr 7;118(14):147202. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.147202. Epub 2017 Apr 3.


Spin Hall magnetoresistance (SMR) has been investigated in Pt/NiO/YIG structures in a wide range of temperature and NiO thickness. The SMR shows a negative sign below a temperature that increases with the NiO thickness. This is contrary to a conventional SMR theory picture applied to the Pt/YIG bilayer, which always predicts a positive SMR. The negative SMR is found to persist even when NiO blocks the spin transmission between Pt and YIG, indicating it is governed by the spin current response of the NiO layer. We explain the negative SMR by the NiO "spin flop" coupled with YIG, which can be overridden at higher temperature by positive SMR contribution from YIG. This highlights the role of magnetic structure in antiferromagnets for transport of pure spin current in multilayers.