Introducing impurities to induce spin textures
29 Jun 2021
- Rosie de Laune



For the first time, researchers have been able to produce exotic spin states in magnetic materials by introducing impurities.


(Left) Local spin canting induced by a vacancy in a triangular lattice antiferromagnet (blue arrows) and original 120 magnetic order (grey arrows). (Right) Inelastic neutron scattering spectra (INS) and theoretical INS cross-section of h-YMnO3 and h-YMn0.9Al0.1O3.


Exotic spin states have been observed in a range of materials, and are usually present due to the frustrated arrangement of the spins in the structure of the material. With their potential applications in spintronics, being able to induce these spin states in a material that has other favourable properties could open up new possibilities for their application.

In this study, published in Nature Communications, a research collaboration led by Professor Je-Geun Park of Seoul National University, Korea, has used large facilities across the world to confirm the first experimental observation of impurity-induced spin textures experimentally.

The group studied h-YMn1-xAlxO3 using inelastic neutron scattering (INS) and computer modelling. Their INS data were collected over multiple experiments, each focussing on different values of x, using the MAPS instrument at ISIS, the 4SEASONS spectrometer at J-PARC, Japan, and the Taipan triple-axis spectrometer at ANSTO, Australia.

To explain the features observed in their INS spectra, the researchers used extensive computational modelling. According to their analysis, their results agreed with a scenario where a spin texture was present, whereas modelling the system without such a spin texture did not match well with their results.

This initial identification of an impurity-induced spin texture prompts further investigation to detect it directly. However, this study demonstrates that a spin texture can be easily generated by introducing impurities and could, potentially, be manipulated for other applications.

Further information

Pyeongjae Park, Kisoo Park, Joosung Oh, Ki Hoon Lee, Jonathan C. Leiner, Hasung Sim, Taehun Kim, Jaehong Jeong, Kirrily C. Rule, Kazuya Kamazawa, Kazuki Iida, T. G. Perring, Hyungje Wo​o, S.-W. Cheong, M. E. Zhitomirsky, A. L. Chernyshev, and Je-Geun Park, Nature Comm. 12 2306 (2021)

The full paper can be found at DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-22569-3

Contact: de Laune, Rosie (STFC,RAL,ISIS)