Uncovering spin-orbit coupling-independent hidden spin polarization of energy bands in antiferromagnets

Nat Commun. 2023 Aug 31;14(1):5301. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-40877-8.


Many textbook physical effects in crystals are enabled by some specific symmetries. In contrast to such ‘apparent effects’, ‘hidden effect X’ refers to the general condition where the nominal global system symmetry would disallow the effect X, whereas the symmetry of local sectors within the crystal would enable effect X. Known examples include the hidden Rashba and/or hidden Dresselhaus spin polarization that require spin-orbit coupling, but unlike their apparent counterparts are demonstrated to exist in non-magnetic systems even in inversion-symmetric crystals. Here, we discuss hidden spin polarization effect in collinear antiferromagnets without the requirement for spin-orbit coupling (SOC). Symmetry analysis suggests that antiferromagnets hosting such effect can be classified into six types depending on the global vs local symmetry. We identify which of the possible collinear antiferromagnetic compounds will harbor such hidden polarization and validate these symmetry enabling predictions with first-principles density functional calculations for several representative compounds. This will boost the theoretical and experimental efforts in finding new spin-polarized materials.

PMID:37652909 | PMC:PMC10471643 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-023-40877-8


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