Birefringence-like spin transport via linearly polarized antiferromagnetic magnons

Jiahao Han, Pengxiang Zhang, Zhen Bi, Yabin Fan, Taqiyyah S. Safi, Junxiang Xiang, Joseph Finley, Liang Fu, Ran Cheng, Luqiao Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Antiferromagnets (AFMs) possess great potential in spintronics because of their immunity to external magnetic disturbance, the absence of a stray field or the resonance in the terahertz range1,2. The coupling of insulating AFMs to spin–orbit materials3–7 enables spin transport via AFM magnons. In particular, spin transmission over several micrometres occurs in some AFMs with easy-axis anisotropy8,9. Easy-plane AFMs with two orthogonal, linearly polarized magnon eigenmodes own unique advantages for low-energy control of ultrafast magnetic dynamics2. However, it is commonly conceived that these magnon modes are less likely to transmit spins because of their vanishing angular momentum9–11. Here we report experimental evidence that an easy-plane insulating AFM, an α-Fe2O3 thin film, can efficiently transmit spins over micrometre distances. The spin decay length shows an unconventional temperature dependence that cannot be captured considering solely thermal magnon scatterings. We interpret our observations in terms of an interference of two linearly polarized, propagating magnons in analogy to the birefringence effect in optics. Furthermore, our devices can realize a bi-stable spin-current switch with a 100% on/off ratio under zero remnant magnetic field. These findings provide additional tools for non-volatile, low-field control of spin transport in AFM systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-568
Number of pages6
JournalNature nanotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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