Publications associated with Quantum Materials

Magneto-optical Kerr switching properties of (CrI3)2 and (CrBr3/CrI3) bilayers

ACS Applied Electronic Materials American Chemical Society 2 (2020) 1373-1380

K Yang, W Hu, H Wu, M-H Whangbo, P Radaelli, A Stroppa

We explore the magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE) for different spin configurations of the (CrI3)2 bilayer and (CrBr3/CrI3) mixed bilayer using symmetry arguments and first-principles electronic structure calculations. Starting from CrX3 (X = I, Br) monolayers, we considered collinear ferromagnetic (FM) and layered antiferromagnetic (AFM) states for (CrI3)2 and (CrBr3/CrI3) bilayers. The AFM (CrI3)2 bilayer does not show MOKE, consistent with the presence of a symmetry operator combining inversion (I) and time reversal (T) symmetries. The FM state preserves I symmetry but breaks the T symmetry, thus allowing a nonzero Kerr angle, which is reversible by switching the FM spins. The (CrBr3/CrI3) bilayer breaks both the I and T symmetries and thus exhibits MOKE both in the FM state and, remarkably, in the AFM state. In both FM and AFM configurations, the Kerr angle switches by reversing the spins in both layers. Our study demonstrates that the MOKE spectra can help to characterize different magnetic configurations in these emerging two-dimensional (2D) magnetic materials due to a different stacking of the monolayers, even in the AFM case. Note that the present symmetry analyses and MOKE properties apply to more general 2D magnetic van der Waals heterostructures. Furthermore, we propose the (CrBr3/CrI3) bilayer as a promising candidate for AFM spintronics since the two time-reversed AFM states are associated with opposite Kerr rotation, i.e., they could be used as memory elements.

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