Emergence of anisotropic Gilbert damping in ultrathin Fe layers on GaAs(001)

L. Chen, S. Mankovsky, S. Wimmer, M. A.W. Schoen, H. S. Körner, M. Kronseder, D. Schuh, D. Bougeard, H. Ebert, D. Weiss, C. H. Back

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As a fundamental parameter in magnetism, the phenomenological Gilbert damping constant α determines the performance of many spintronic devices. For most magnetic materials, α is treated as an isotropic parameter entering the Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert equation. However, could the Gilbert damping be anisotropic? Although several theoretical approaches have suggested that anisotropic α could appear in single-crystalline bulk systems, experimental evidence of its existence is scarce. Here, we report the emergence of anisotropic magnetic damping by exploring a quasi-two-dimensional single-crystalline ferromagnetic metal/semiconductor interface - that is, a Fe/GaAs(001) heterojunction. The observed anisotropic damping shows twofold C 2v symmetry, which is expected from the interplay of interfacial Rashba and Dresselhaus spin-orbit interaction, and is manifested by the anisotropic density of states at the Fe/GaAs (001) interface. This discovery of anisotropic damping will enrich the understanding of magnetization relaxation mechanisms and can provide a route towards the search for anisotropic damping at other ferromagnetic metal/semiconductor interfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-494
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


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