Neutron scattering reveals easy and complete switching between planar and axial spins upon doping with Li in antiferromagnetic MnTe. Easy control of the spin orientation is a crucial step towards increasing functionalities and developing easy switching of magnetic states in future spintronic or topological materials.
The spin angle and moment size in polycrystalline MnTe with 0 – 5% Li doping were determined by powder neutron diffraction. The axial spin state in Li-doped material survives up to 250 K and flips to planar near TN = 307 K. Calculations reveal the presence of two competing magnetic ground states (planar and axial). Doping by interstitial Li shifts the Fermi level and tips the balance between the competing ground states.