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Optical determination of the Néel vector in a CuMnAs thin-film antiferromagnet

Saidl, V.; N?mec, P.; Wadley, P.; Hills, V.; Campion, R. P.; Nov�k, V.; Edmonds, K. W.; Maccherozzi, F.; Dhesi, S. S.; Gallagher, B. L.; Troj�nek, F.; Kunes, J.; �elezn�, J.; Mal�, P.; Jungwirth, T.

Optical determination of the Néel vector in a CuMnAs thin-film antiferromagnet Thumbnail


V. Saidl

P. N?mec

Royal Society Principal Research Fellow

V. Hills

V. Nov�k

Associate Professor & Reader in Physics

F. Maccherozzi

S. S. Dhesi

B. L. Gallagher

F. Troj�nek

J. Kunes

J. �elezn�

P. Mal�

Research Professor of Ferromagnetic Semiconductors


Recent breakthroughs in electrical detection and manipulation of antiferromagnets have opened a new avenue in the research of non-volatile spintronic devices.1-10 Antiparallel spin sublattices in antiferromagnets, producing zero dipolar fields, lead to the insensitivity to magnetic field perturbations, multi-level stability, ultrafast spin dynamics and other favorable characteristics which may find utility in fields ranging from magnetic memories to optical signal processing. However, the absence of a net magnetic moment and the ultra-short magnetization dynamics timescales make antiferromagnets notoriously difficult to study by common magnetometers or magnetic resonance techniques. In this paper we demonstrate the experimental determination of the Néel vector in a thin film of antiferromagnetic CuMnAs9,10 which is the prominent material used in the first realization of antiferromagnetic memory chips.10 We employ a femtosecond pump-probe magneto-optical experiment based on magnetic linear dichroism. This table-top optical method is considerably more accessible than the traditionally employed large scale facility techniques like neutron diffraction11 and Xray magnetic dichroism measurements.12-14 This optical technique allows an unambiguous direct determination of the Néel vector orientation in thin antiferromagnetic films utilized in devices directly from measured data without fitting to a theoretical model.


Saidl, V., Němec, P., Wadley, P., Hills, V., Campion, R. P., Novák, V., …Jungwirth, T. (2017). Optical determination of the Néel vector in a CuMnAs thin-film antiferromagnet. Nature Photonics, 11(2), 91-96.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 21, 2016
Online Publication Date Jan 9, 2017
Publication Date 2017-02
Deposit Date Mar 7, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 7, 2017
Journal Nature Photonics
Print ISSN 1749-4885
Electronic ISSN 1749-4893
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Issue 2
Pages 91-96
Keywords Circular dichroism, Information storage, Nanoscale materials, Spintronics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Received: 5 August 2016; Accepted: 21 November 2016; First Online: 9 January 2017; : The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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