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Atomic-Scale Modulation of Synthetic Magnetic Order in Oxide Superlattices

by Valeria Lauter, Seung Gyo Jeon, Sehwan Song, Sungkyun Park, Woo Seok Cho
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Small Methods
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Atomic-scale precision control of magnetic interactions facilitates a synthetic spin order useful for spintronics, including advanced memory and quantum logic devices. Conventional modulation of synthetic spin order has been limited to metallic heterostructures that exploit Ruderman–Kittel–Kasuya–Yosida interaction through a nonmagnetic metallic spacer; however, they face issues arising from Joule heating and/or electric breakdown. The practical realization and observation of a synthetic spin order across a nonmagnetic insulating spacer will lead to the development of spin-related devices with a completely different concept. Herein, the atomic-scale modulation of the synthetic spiral spin order in oxide superlattices composed of ferromagnetic metal and nonmagnetic insulator layers is reported. The atomically controlled superlattice exhibits an oscillatory magnetic behavior, representing the existence of a spiral spin structure. Depth-sensitive polarized neutron reflectometry evidences modulated spiral spin structures as a function of the nonmagnetic insulator layer thickness. Atomic-scale customization of the spin state can move the field one step further to actual spintronic applications.