Press Release

Enhanced Atomic-Scale Spin Contrast due to Spin Friction

Atom manipulation with the magnetic tip of a scanning tunneling microscope is a versatile technique to
construct and investigate well-defined atomic spin arrangements. Here we explore the possibility of using a magnetic adatom as a local probe to image surface spin textures. As a model system we choose a Néel state with 120° between neighboring magnetic moments. Close to the threshold of manipulation, the adatom resides in the threefold, magnetically frustrated hollow sites, and consequently no magnetic signal is detected in manipulation images. At smaller tip-adatom distances, however, the adatom is moved towards the magnetically active bridge sites and due to the exchange force of the tip the manipulation process becomes spin dependent. In this way the adatom can be used as an amplifying probe for the surface spin texture.


Enhanced Atomic-Scale Spin Contrast due to Spin Friction
S. Ouazi, A. Kubetzka, K. von Bergmann, and R. Wiesendanger,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 076102 (2014).