The electric manipulation of antiferromagnets has become an area of great interest recently for zero-stray-field spintronic devices, and for their rich spin dynamics. Generally, the application of antiferromagnetic media for information memories and storage requires a heterostructure with a ferromagnetic layer for readout through the exchange-bias field. In magnetoelectric and multiferroic antiferromagnets, the exchange coupling exerts an additional impediment (energy barrier) to magnetization reversal by the applied magnetoelectric energy. We proposed and verified a method to overcome this barrier. We controlled the energy required for switching the magnetic domains in magnetoelectric Cr2O3 films by compensating the exchange-coupling energy from the ferromagnetic layer with the Zeeman energy of a small volumetric spontaneous magnetization found for the sputtered Cr2O3 films. Based on a simplified phenomenological model of the field-cooling process, the magnetic and electric fields required for switching could be tuned. As an example, the switching of antiferromagnetic domains around a zero-threshold electric field was demonstrated at a magnetic field of 2.6 kOe.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics