Picosecond Creation of Switchable Optomagnets from a Polar Antiferromagnet with Giant Photoinduced Kerr Rotations

Yu-Miin Sheu*, Y. M. Chang, C. P. Chang, Y. H. Li, K. R. Babu, G. Y. Guo, T. Kurumaji, Y. Tokura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


On-demand spin orientation with a long polarized lifetime and an easily detectable signal is the ultimate goal for spintronics. However, there still exists a trade-off between controllability and stability of spin polarization, awaiting a significant breakthrough. Here, we demonstrate switchable optomagnet effects in (Fe1-xZnx)2Mo3O8, from which we can obtain tunable magnetization (spanning from-40% to 40% of a saturated magnetization) that is created from zero magnetization in the antiferromagnetic state without magnetic fields. It is accomplishable by utilizing circularly polarized laser pulses to excite spin-flip transitions in polar antiferromagnets that have no spin canting, traditionally hard to control without very strong magnetic fields. The spin controllability in (Fe1-xZnx)2Mo3O8 originates from its polar structure that breaks the crystal inversion symmetry, allowing distinct on-site d-d transitions for selective spin flip. By chemical doping, we exploit the phase competition between antiferromagnetic and ferrimagnetic states to enhance and stabilize the optomagnet effects, which result in long-lived photoinduced Kerr rotations. The present study creating switchable giant optomagnet effects in polar antiferromagnets sketches a new blueprint for the function of antiferromagnetic spintronics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031038
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review X
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Aug 2019


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