For a long time, there were no efficient ways of controlling antiferromagnets. Quite a strong magnetic field was required to manipulate the magnetic moments because of a high molecular field and a small magnetic susceptibility. It was also difficult to detect the orientation of the magnetic moments since the net magnetic moment is effectively zero. For these reasons, research on antiferromagnets has not been progressed as drastically as that on ferromagnets which are the main materials in modern spintronic devices. Here we show that the magnetic moments in NiO, a typical natural antiferromagnet, can indeed be controlled by the spin torque with a relatively small electric current density (~4 × 107 A/cm2) and their orientation is detected by the transverse resistance resulting from the spin Hall magnetoresistance. The demonstrated techniques of controlling and detecting antiferromagnets would outstandingly promote the methodologies in the recently emerged “antiferromagnetic spintronics”. Furthermore, our results essentially lead to a spin torque antiferromagnetic memory.
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