Third Harmonic Characterization of Antiferromagnetic Heterostructures

Electrical switching of antiferromagnets is an exciting recent development in spintronics, which promises active antiferromagnetic devices with high speed and low energy cost. In this emerging field, there is an active debate about the mechanisms of current-driven switching of antiferromagnets. Harmonic characterization is a powerful tool to quantify current-induced spin-orbit torques and spin Seebeck effect in heavy-metal/ferromagnet systems. However, the harmonic measurement technique has never been verified in antiferromagnetic heterostructures. Here, we report for the first time harmonic measurements in Pt/α Fe2O3 bilayers, which are explained by our modeling of higher-order harmonic voltages. As compared with ferromagnetic heterostructures where all current-induced effects appear in the second harmonic signals, the damping-like torque and thermally-induced magnetoelastic effect contributions in Pt/α- Fe2O3 emerge in the third harmonic voltage. Our results provide a new path to probe the current-induced magnetization dynamics in antiferromagnets, promoting the application of antiferromagnetic spintronic devices.

This article has been published in Nature Communications and is available here.