Optically probed symmetry breaking in the chiral magnet Cu2OSeO3

R. B. Versteeg, I. Vergara, S. D. Schaefer, D. Bischoff, A. Aqeel, T. T. M. Palstra, M. Grueninger, P. H. M. van Loosdrecht

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    We report on the linear optical properties of the chiral magnet Cu2OSeO3, specifically associated with the absence of inversion symmetry, the chiral crystallographic structure, and magnetic order. Through spectroscopic ellipsometry, we observe local crystal-field excitations below the charge-transfer gap. These crystal-field excitations are optically allowed due to the lack of inversion symmetry at the Cu sites. Optical polarization rotation measurements were used to study the structural chirality and magnetic order. The temperature dependence of the natural optical rotation, originating in the chiral crystal structure, provides evidence for a finite magnetoelectric effect in the helimagnetic phase. We find a large magneto-optical susceptibility on the order of V(540 nm) similar to 10(4) rad/Tm in the helimagnetic phase and a maximum Faraday rotation of similar to 170 deg/mm in the ferrimagnetic phase. The large value of V can be explained by considering spin cluster formation and the relative ease of domain reorientation in this metamagnetic material. The magneto-optical activity allows us to map the magnetic phase diagram, including the skyrmion lattice phase. In addition to this, we probe and discuss the nature of the various magnetic phase transitions in Cu2OSeO3.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number094409
    JournalPhysical review B: Covering condensed matter and materials physics
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2016


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