Aspects of antiferromagnetic spintronics
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Spintronics is the study of mutual dependence of magnetization and electron transport, which forms a complementary picture in ferromagnetic (FM) materials. Recently, spintronics based on antiferromagnetic (AF) materials has been suggested. However, a systematic study is not yet available, and a complementary picture of the AF dynamics with electron transport is highly desired. By developing a microscopic theory, we predict the occurrence of spintronic phenomena both in bulk AF texture and on the interface of AF with normal metals. For the bulk, we find that the electron dynamics becomes adiabatic when the local staggered field is varying slowly over space and time, by which the spin-motive force and the reactive spin-transfer torque (STT) are derived as reciprocal effects. While the former generates a pure spin voltage across the texture, the latter can be used to drive AF domain wall and trigger spin wave excitation with lower current densities compared to FM materials. For the interface, by calculating how electrons scatter off a normal metal -antiferromagnet heterostructure, we derive the pumped spin and staggered spin currents in terms of the staggered order parameter, the magnetization, and their rates of change; the reactions of an incident spin current on the antiferromagnet is derived as STTs. These effects are applicable to both compensated and uncompensated interfaces with a similar order of magnitude. In contrast to FM materials, the direction of spin pumping is controlled by the circular polarization of driving microwave; and conversely, the chirality of AF spin wave is tunable by the direction of spin accumulation.