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Enhanced magneto-optical Kerr effect at Fe/insulator interfaces

Gu, B.; Takahashi, Saburo*; Maekawa, Sadamichi

Using density functional theory calculations, we have found an enhanced magneto-optical Kerr effect in Fe/insulator interfaces. The results of our study indicate that interfacial Fe atoms in the Fe films have a lowdimensional nature, which causes the following two effects: (1) The diagonal component $$sigma_{xx}$$ of the optical conductivity decreases dramatically because the hopping integral for electrons between Fe atoms is suppressed by the low dimensionality. (2) The off-diagonal component $$sigma_{xy}$$ of the optical conductivity does not change at low photon energies, but it is enhanced at photon energies around 2 eV, where we obtain enhanced orbital magnetic moments and spin-orbit correlations for the interfacial Fe atoms. A large Kerr angle develops in proportion to the ratio $$sigma_{xy}$$/$$sigma_{xx}$$. Our findings indicate an efficient way to enhance the effect of spin-orbit coupling at metal/insulator interfaces without using heavy elements.

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Category:Materials Science, Multidisciplinary

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