Publications associated with Quantum Materials

Kerr effect anomaly in magnetic topological insulator superlattices

Nanotechnology IOP Publishing (2020)

J Liu, A Singh, B Kuerbanjiang, C Barnes, T Hesjedal

We report the magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE) study of magnetic topological insulator superlattice films with alternating transition-metal and rare-earth doping. We observe an unexpected hump in the MOKE hysteresis loops upon magnetization reversal at low temperatures, reminiscent of the topological Hall effect(THE) reported in transport measurements. The THE is commonly associated with the existence of magnetic skyrmions, i.e., chiral spin textures originating from topological defects in real space. Here, the observation of the effect is tied to ferromagnetic ordering in the rare-earth-doped layers of the superlattice. Our study may provide a new approach for the non-invasive optical investigation of skyrmions in magnetic films, complementary to electrical transport measurements, where the topological Hall signal is often the only hint of non-trivial magnetization patterns.

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