skip to main content

Title: ZrTe2/CrTe2: an epitaxial van der Waals platform for spintronics

The rapid discovery of two-dimensional (2D) van der Waals (vdW) quantum materials has led to heterostructures that integrate diverse quantum functionalities such as topological phases, magnetism, and superconductivity. In this context, the epitaxial synthesis of vdW heterostructures with well-controlled interfaces is an attractive route towards wafer-scale platforms for systematically exploring fundamental properties and fashioning proof-of-concept devices. Here, we use molecular beam epitaxy to synthesize a vdW heterostructure that interfaces two material systems of contemporary interest: a 2D ferromagnet (1T-CrTe2) and a topological semimetal (ZrTe2). We find that one unit-cell (u.c.) thick 1T-CrTe2grown epitaxially on ZrTe2is a 2D ferromagnet with a clear anomalous Hall effect. In thicker samples (12 u.c. thick CrTe2), the anomalous Hall effect has characteristics that may arise from real-space Berry curvature. Finally, in ultrathin CrTe2(3 u.c. thickness), we demonstrate current-driven magnetization switching in a full vdW topological semimetal/2D ferromagnet heterostructure device.

; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Van der Waals heterostructures offer great versatility to tailor unique interactions at the atomically flat interfaces between dissimilar layered materials and induce novel physical phenomena. By bringing monolayer 1 T’ WTe2, a two-dimensional quantum spin Hall insulator, and few-layer Cr2Ge2Te6, an insulating ferromagnet, into close proximity in an heterostructure, we introduce a ferromagnetic order in the former via the interfacial exchange interaction. The ferromagnetism in WTe2manifests in the anomalous Nernst effect, anomalous Hall effect as well as anisotropic magnetoresistance effect. Using local electrodes, we identify separate transport contributions from the metallic edge and insulating bulk. When driven by an AC current, the second harmonic voltage responses closely resemble the anomalous Nernst responses to AC temperature gradient generated by nonlocal heater, which appear as nonreciprocal signals with respect to the induced magnetization orientation. Our results from different electrodes reveal spin-polarized edge states in the magnetized quantum spin Hall insulator.

  2. Abstract

    The physical realization of Chern insulators is of fundamental and practical interest, as they are predicted to host the quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) effect and topologically protected chiral edge states which can carry dissipationless current. Current realizations of the QAH state often require complex heterostructures and sub-Kelvin temperatures, making the discovery of intrinsic, high temperature QAH systems of significant interest. In this work we show that time-reversal symmetry breaking Weyl semimetals, being essentially stacks of Chern insulators with inter-layer coupling, may provide a new platform for the higher temperature realization of robust chiral edge states. We present combined scanning tunneling spectroscopy and theoretical investigations of the magnetic Weyl semimetal, Co3Sn2S2. Using modeling and numerical simulations we find that depending on the strength of the interlayer coupling, chiral edge states can be localized on partially exposed kagome planes on the surfaces of a Weyl semimetal. Correspondingly, our dI/dVmaps on the kagome Co3Sn terraces show topological states confined to the edges which display linear dispersion. This work provides a new paradigm for realizing chiral edge modes and provides a pathway for the realization of higher temperature QAH effect in magnetic Weyl systems in the two-dimensional limit.

  3. Abstract

    The mechanical exfoliation of naturally occurring layered materials has emerged as an easy and effective method for achieving ultrathin van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures with well-defined lattice orientations of the constituent two-dimensional (2D) material layers. Cylindrite is one such naturally occurring vdW heterostructure, where the superlattice is composed of alternating stacks of SnS2-like and PbS-like layers. Although the constituent 2D lattices are isotropic, inhomogeneous strain occurring from local atomic alignment for forcing the commensuration makes the cylindrite superlattice structurally anisotropic. Here, we demonstrate the highly anisotropic optical responses of cylindrite thin flakes induced by the anisotropic crystal structure, including angle-resolved polarized Raman scattering, linear dichroism, and polarization-dependent anisotropic third-harmonic generation. Our results provide a promising approach for identifying various natural vdW heterostructure-based 2D materials with tailored optical properties and can be harnessed for realizing anisotropic optical devices for on-chip photonic circuits and optical information processing.

  4. Abstract

    Cannizzarite is a naturally occurring mineral formed by van der Waals (vdW) stacking of alternating layers of PbS-like and Bi2S3-like two-dimensional (2D) materials. Although the PbS-type and Bi2S3-type 2D material layers are structurally isotropic individually, the forced commensuration between these two types of layers while forming the heterostructure of cannizzarite induces strong structural anisotropy. Here we demonstrate the mechanical exfoliation of natural cannizzarite mineral to obtain thin vdW heterostructures of PbS-type and Bi2S3-type atomic layers. The structural anisotropy induced anisotropic optical properties of thin cannizzarite flakes are explored through angle-resolved polarized Raman scattering, linear dichroism, and polarization-dependent anisotropic third-harmonic generation. Our study establishes cannizzarite as a new natural vdW heterostructure-based 2D material with highly anisotropic optical properties for realizing polarization-sensitive linear and nonlinear photonic devices for future on-chip optical computing and optical information processing.

  5. Creating seamless heterostructures that exhibit the quantum Hall effect and superconductivity is highly desirable for future electronics based on topological quantum computing. However, the two topologically robust electronic phases are typically incompatible owing to conflicting magnetic field requirements. Combined advances in the epitaxial growth of a nitride superconductor with a high critical temperature and a subsequent nitride semiconductor heterostructure of metal polarity enable the observation of clean integer quantum Hall effect in the polarization-induced two-dimensional (2D) electron gas of the high-electron mobility transistor. Through individual magnetotransport measurements of the spatially separated GaN 2D electron gas and superconducting NbN layers, we find a small window of magnetic fields and temperatures in which the epitaxial layers retain their respective quantum Hall and superconducting properties. Its analysis indicates that in epitaxial nitride superconductor/semiconductor heterostructures, this window can be significantly expanded, creating an industrially viable platform for robust quantum devices that exploit topologically protected transport.