Real-space visualization of intrinsic magnetic fields of an antiferromagnet



Yuji Kohno, Takehito Seki, Scott David Findlay, Yuichi Ikuhara and Naoya Shibata

Characterizing magnetic structures down to atomic dimensions is central to the design and control of nanoscale magnetism in materials and devices. However, real-space visualization of magnetic fields at such dimensions has been extremely challenging. In recent years, atomic-resolution differential phase contrast scanning transmission electron microscopy (DPC STEM)1 has enabled direct imaging of electric field distribution even inside single atoms2. Here we show real-space visualization of magnetic field distribution inside antiferromagnetic haematite (α-Fe2O3) using atomic-resolution DPC STEM in a magnetic-field-free environment3. After removing the phase-shift component due to atomic electric fields and improving the signal-to-noise ratio by unit-cell averaging, real-space visualization of the intrinsic magnetic fields in α-Fe2O3 is realized. These results open a new possibility for real-space characterization of many magnetic structures.

1. Shibata, N. et al. Differential phase-contrast microscopy at atomic resolution. Nat. Phys. 8, 611–615 (2012).
2. Shibata, N. et al. Electric field imaging of single atoms. Nat. Commun. 8, 15631 (2017).
3. Shibata, N. et al. Atomic resolution electron microscopy in a magnetic field free environment. Nat. Commun. 10, 2308 (2019).

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