Data from: Current-induced switching of thin film α-Fe2O3 devices imaged using a scanning single-spin microscope

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Electrical switching of Néel order in an antiferromagnetic insulator is desirable as a basis for memory applications. Unlike electrically driven switching of ferromagnetic order via spin-orbit torques, electrical switching of antiferromagnetic order remains poorly understood. Here we investigate the low-field magnetic properties of 30-nm-thick, c-axis-oriented α-Fe2O3 Hall devices using a diamond nitrogen-vacancy center scanning microscope. Using the canted moment of α-Fe2O3 as a magnetic handle on its Néel vector, we apply a saturating in-plane magnetic field to create a known initial state before letting the state relax in low field for magnetic imaging. We repeat this procedure for different in-plane orientations of the initialization field. We find that the magnetic field images are characterized by stronger magnetic textures for fields along [¯1¯120] and [11¯20], suggesting that despite the expected 3-fold magnetocrystalline anisotropy, our α-Fe2O3 thin films have an overall in-plane uniaxial anisotropy. We also study current-induced switching of the magnetic order in α-Fe2O3. We find that the fraction of the device that switches depends on the current pulse duration, amplitude, and direction relative to the initialization field.

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This work is primarily supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. DMR-2004466). Quantitative peak tracking was developed with support by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, National Quantum Information Science Research Centers (Grant No. 1F-60510). The PCB-based microwave resonator was developed with support from the U.S. DOE, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences (Grant No. DE-SC0019250). The development of the scanning NV microscope setup was supported by the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) with funding from the NSF MRSEC program (Grant No. DMR-1719875), including capital equipment support by CCMR and the Kavli Institute at Cornell. Sample growth is supported by the U.S. DOE, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences (Grant No. DE-SC0001304).
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American Physical Society
Magnetization switching; NV centers; Spin-orbit torque; Spintronics; Antiferromagnets; Scanning probe microscopy
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