Antiferromagnetic Spin Orientation and Magnetic Domain Structure in Epitaxially Grown MnN Studied using Optical Second Harmonic Generation

Kavli Affiliate: Farhan Rana

| First 5 Authors: Joongwon Lee, Zexuan Zhang, Huili Xing, Debdeep Jena, Farhan Rana

| Summary:

MnN is a centrosymmetric collinear antiferromagnet belonging to the
transition metal nitride family with a high Neel temperature, a low anisotropy
field, and a large magnetic moment per Mn atom. Despite several recent
experimental and theoretical studies, the spin symmetry (magnetic point group)
and magnetic domain structure of the material remain unknown. In this work, we
use optical second harmonic generation (SHG) to study the magnetic structure of
thin epitaxially-grown single-crystal (001) MnN films. Our work shows that spin
moments in MnN are tilted away from the [001] direction and the components of
the spin moments in the (001) plane are aligned along one of the two possible
in-plane symmetry axes ([100] or [110]) resulting in a magnetic point group
symmetry of 2/m1′. Our work rules out magnetic point group symmetries 4/mmm1′
and mmm1′ that have been previously discussed in the literature. Four different
spin domains consistent with the 2/m1′ magnetic point group symmetry are
possible in MnN. A statistical model based on the observed variations in the
polarization-dependent intensity of the second harmonic signal collected over
large sample areas puts an upper bound of 0.65 microns on the mean domain size.
Our results show that SHG can be used to probe the magnetic order in metallic
antiferromagnets. This work is expected to contribute to the recent efforts in
using antiferromagnets for spintronic applications.

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