The inverse spinel ferrimagnetic NiCo2O4possesses high magnetic Curie temperature TC, high spin polarization, and strain-tunable magnetic anisotropy. Understanding the thickness scaling limit of these intriguing magnetic properties in NiCo2O4thin films is critical for their implementation in nanoscale spintronic applications. In this work, we report the unconventional magnetotransport properties of epitaxial (001) NiCo2O4films on MgAl2O4substrates in the ultrathin limit. Anomalous Hall effect measurements reveal strong perpendicular magnetic anisotropy for films down to 1.5 unit cell (1.2 nm), while TCfor 3 unit cell and thicker films remains above 300 K. The sign change in the anomalous Hall conductivity [Formula: see text] and its scaling relation with the longitudinal conductivity ([Formula: see text]) can be attributed to the competing effects between impurity scattering and band intrinsic Berry curvature, with the latter vanishing upon the thickness driven metal–insulator transition. Our study reveals the critical role of film thickness in tuning the relative strength of charge correlation, Berry phase effect, spin–orbit interaction, and impurity scattering, providing important material information for designing scalable epitaxial magnetic tunnel junctions and sensing devices using NiCo2O4.
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- Nature Communications
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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