Spin-orbit torques in locally and globally noncentrosymmetric crystals: Antiferromagnets and ferromagnets

J. Železný, H. Gao, Aurelien Manchon, Frank Freimuth, Yuriy Mokrousov, J. Zemen, J. Mašek, Jairo Sinova, T. Jungwirth

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98 Scopus citations


One of the main obstacles that prevents practical applications of antiferromagnets is the difficulty of manipulating the magnetic order parameter. Recently, following the theoretical prediction [J. Železný, Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 157201 (2014)]PRLTAO0031-900710.1103/PhysRevLett.113.157201, the electrical switching of magnetic moments in an antiferromagnet was demonstrated [P. Wadley, Science 351, 587 (2016)]SCIEAS0036-807510.1126/science.aab1031. The switching is due to the so-called spin-orbit torque, which has been extensively studied in ferromagnets. In this phenomena a nonequilibrium spin-polarization exchange coupled to the ordered local moments is induced by current, hence exerting a torque on the order parameter. Here we give a general systematic analysis of the symmetry of the spin-orbit torque in locally and globally noncentrosymmetric crystals. We study when the symmetry allows for a nonzero torque, when is the torque effective, and its dependence on the applied current direction and orientation of magnetic moments. For comparison, we consider both antiferromagnetic and ferromagnetic orders. In two representative model crystals we perform microscopic calculations of the spin-orbit torque to illustrate its symmetry properties and to highlight conditions under which the spin-orbit torque can be efficient for manipulating antiferromagnetic moments.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2015-CRG4-2626
Acknowledgements: We thank K. Vyborny for many fruitful discussions. We acknowledge support from the European Union (EU) European Research Council Advanced (Grant No. 268066), the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic (Grant No. LM2011026), the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (Grant No. 14-37427G), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft SPP 1538, supercomputing resources at Julich Supercomputing Centre and RWTH Aachen University, DFG Transregional Collaborative Research Center (SFB/TRR) 173 Spin+X Spin in its collective environment, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Access to computing and storage facilities owned by parties and projects contributing to the National Grid Infrastructure MetaCentrum, provided under the program “Projects of Large Research, Development, and Innovations Infrastructures” (CESNET LM2015042), is greatly appreciated. A.M. acknowledges financial support from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award No. OSR- 2015-CRG4-2626 as well as fruitful discussions with H. B. M. Saidaoui.


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