Non-locally sensing the magnetic states of nanoscale antiferromagnets with an atomic spin sensor

Science Advances 3, e1603137 (2017)

Non-locally sensing the magnetic states of nanoscale antiferromagnets with an atomic spin sensor

Shichao Yan, Luigi Malavolti, Jacob A. J. Burgess, Andrea Droghetti, Angel Rubio, Sebastian Loth

The ability to sense the magnetic state of individual magnetic nano-objects is a key capability for powerful applications ranging from readout of ultra-dense magnetic memory to the measurement of spins in complex structures with nanometer precision. Magnetic nano-objects require extremely sensitive sensors and detection methods. Here we create an atomic spin sensor consisting of three Fe atoms and show that it can detect nanoscale antiferromagnets through minute surface-mediated magnetic interaction. Coupling, even to an object with no net spin and having vanishing dipolar stray field, modifies the transition matrix element between two spin states of the Fe-atom-based spin sensor that changes the sensor’s spin relaxation time. The sensor can detect nanoscale antiferromagnets at up to three nanometers distance and achieves an energy resolution of 10 micro-electronvolts surpassing the thermal limit of conventional scanning probe spectroscopy. This scheme permits simultaneous sensing of multiple antiferromagnets with a single spin sensor integrated onto the surface.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.1603137
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A.D. and A.R. were supported by the European Research Council project QSpec-NewMat (ERC-2015-AdG-694097), the Marie Skłodowska-Curie project SPINMAN (SEP-210189940) and Grupos Consolidados UPV/EHU (IT578-13).

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