Light-driven Topological and Magnetic Phase Transitions in Thin-layer Antiferromagnets

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Date

2022-05-10

Authors

Rodriguez-Vega, Martin
Lin, Ze-Xun
Leonardo, Aritz
Ernst, A.
Vergniory, M. G.
Fiete, Gregory A.

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Abstract

We theoretically study the effect of low-frequency light pulses in resonance with phonons in the topological and magnetically ordered two septuple-layer (2-SL) MnBi2Te4 (MBT) and MnSb2Te4 (MST). These materials share symmetry properties and an an- tiferromagnetic ground state in pristine form but present different magnetic exchange

interactions. In both materials, shear and breathing Raman phonons can be excited via

non-linear interactions with photo-excited infrared phonons using intense laser pulses

attainable in current experimental setups. The light-induced transient lattice distor-

tions lead to a change in the sign of the effective interlayer exchange interaction and

magnetic order accompanied by a topological band transition. Furthermore, we show

that moderate anti-site disorder, typically present in MBT and MST samples, can facil-

itate such an effect. Therefore, our work establishes 2-SL MBT and MST as candidate

platforms to achieve non-equilibrium magneto-topological phase transitions.

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