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Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Sep 6;111(10):106804. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

Orbital control of noncollinear magnetic order in nickel oxide heterostructures.

Author information

1
Max-Planck-Institut für Festkörperforschung, Heisenbergstrasse 1, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie, Wilhelm-Conrad-Röntgen-Campus BESSY II, Albert-Einstein-Strasse 15, D-12489 Berlin, Germany.
2
Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie, Wilhelm-Conrad-Röntgen-Campus BESSY II, Albert-Einstein-Strasse 15, D-12489 Berlin, Germany.
3
Max-Planck-Institut für Festkörperforschung, Heisenbergstrasse 1, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany.
4
Quantum Matter Institute, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Colombia V6T 1Z1, Canada.

Abstract

We have used resonant x-ray diffraction to develop a detailed description of antiferromagnetic ordering in epitaxial superlattices based on two-unit-cell thick layers of the strongly correlated metal LaNiO3. We also report reference experiments on thin films of PrNiO3 and NdNiO3. The resulting data indicate a spiral state whose polarization plane can be controlled by adjusting the Ni d-orbital occupation via two independent mechanisms: epitaxial strain and spatial confinement of the valence electrons. The data are discussed in light of recent theoretical predictions.

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