Efficient read-out in antiferromagnetic spintronics

Demonstration of technologically feasible read-out for ultrafast and stable magnetic memory

25 November 2021

Within spin-based electronics, i.e., spintronics, a novel approach promising ultrafast and stable magnetic memory is based on antiferromagnets as active elements. These materials without macroscopic magnetization but with a staggered orientation of their microscopic magnetic moments display intrinsic dynamics in the Terahertz (THz) range and are robust against magnetic fields.

However, technologically relevant read-out in spintronics requires significant magnetoresistance effects, i.e., resistance changes larger than 20 percent should be associated with a reorientation of the staggered magnetization. This represents a major challenge in antiferromagnetic spintronics.

New approach enables the well-established read-out methods of ferromagnets

As published in the online science journal Nature Communications, scientists of the Institute of Physics of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), within an international collaboration, were now able to demonstrate a strong exchange coupling of very thin ferromagnetic layers to the prototypical antiferromagnetic spintronics compound of manganese and gold (Mn2Au). This allows to benefit from the well-established read-out methods of ferromagnets enabling large magnetoresistance effects also in antiferromagnetic spintronics.

Spintronics is a major focus of research at the JGU Institute of Physics. The study was financially supported amongst others by the Transregional Collaborative Research Center 173 "Spin+X – Spin in its collective environment" of TU Kaiserslautern and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.