Electrical Control of Structural and Physical Properties via Strong Spin-Orbit Interactions in Sr2IrO4

G. Cao, J. Terzic, H. D. Zhao, H. Zheng, L. E. De Long, Peter S. Riseborough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Electrical control of structural and physical properties is a long-sought, but elusive goal of contemporary science and technology. We demonstrate that a combination of strong spin-orbit interactions (SOI) and a canted antiferromagnetic Mott state is sufficient to attain that goal. The antiferromagnetic insulator Sr2IrO4 provides a model system in which strong SOI lock canted Ir magnetic moments to IrO6 octahedra, causing them to rigidly rotate together. A novel coupling between an applied electrical current and the canting angle reduces the Néel temperature and drives a large, nonlinear lattice expansion that closely tracks the magnetization, increases the electron mobility, and precipitates a unique resistive switching effect. Our observations open new avenues for understanding fundamental physics driven by strong SOI in condensed matter, and provide a new paradigm for functional materials and devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number017201
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
G. C. is indebted to Dr. Xiangang Wan, Dr. Daniel Khomskii, Dr. Feng Ye, Dr. Natalie Perkins, and S.-W. Cheong for stimulating discussions. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation via Grants No. DMR-1712101 (University of Colorado) and No. DMR-1506979 (L. E. D.), and by Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Science, Materials Science through the award DEFG02-84ER45872 (P. S. R.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Physical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (all)


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