Indirect chiral magnetic exchange through Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya-enhanced RKKY interactions in manganese oxide chains on Ir(100).

Martin Schmitt, Paolo Moras, Gustav Bihlmayer, Ryan Cotsakis, Matthias Vogt, Jeannette Kemmer, Abderrezak Belabbes, Polina M Sheverdyaeva, Asish K Kundu, Carlo Carbone, Stefan Blügel, Matthias Bode

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Localized electron spins can couple magnetically via the Ruderman-Kittel-Kasuya-Yosida interaction even if their wave functions lack direct overlap. Theory predicts that spin-orbit scattering leads to a Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya type enhancement of this indirect exchange interaction, giving rise to chiral exchange terms. Here we present a combined spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy, angle-resolved photoemission, and density functional theory study of MnO2 chains on Ir(100). Whereas we find antiferromagnetic Mn-Mn coupling along the chain, the inter-chain coupling across the non-magnetic Ir substrate turns out to be chiral with a 120° rotation between adjacent MnO2 chains. Calculations reveal that the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction results in spin spirals with a periodicity in agreement with experiment. Our findings confirm the existence of indirect chiral magnetic exchange, potentially giving rise to exotic phenomena, such as chiral spin-liquid states in spin ice systems or the emergence of new quasiparticles.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 13 2019

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